Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that QB Ben Roethlisberger has grown “incredibly frustrated” with the direction of the team and will reportedly ask for a trade at season’s end.
The report stirred up so much conversation that it forced Art Rooney II to actually come out of his cave and issue a statement. In it, Rooney II claimed the Steelers have never sought such a trade and have no plans to do so.
Both Roethlisberger and his agent Ryan Tollner said after the game that the QB intends to finish his career in Pittsburgh and both also vehemently denied everything in the report by Rapoport.
The cat is now out of the bag and it will be interesting to see where this goes over the next few months but I can tell you right now, someone’s statements from yesterday will come back to haunt them.
Here’s my take on this situation.
For Rapoport to report that Roethlisberger is “incredibly frustrated” is like reporting that the sky is blue. Who doesn’t know that Roethlisberger is frustrated? You can see it on a weekly basis in his body language and in his facial expressions.
This frustration is not about loathing the departure of best bud Bruce Arians either. That ship sailed last year. This is about being frustrated with a ragtag offensive line and a coordinator that continues to avoid using the type of offense that has proven to score points.
Who wouldn’t be frustrated? On the second play of the game the Steelers went with the ‘Wildcat’ formation which meant Big Ben was out wide. Have you seen Tom Brady, Drew Brees or Peyton Manning have to do such a thing?
And we wonder why he is frustrated…
“I’m a Pittsburgher,” Roethlisberger said yesterday. “I’ve told people that. … I want to finish my career here, however long that is. I don’t want to play for anybody else. This is it for me.”
His intentions sound pretty clear to me but a lot can change in a short amount of time. If things continue the way they currently are, the front office will need to decide between Todd Haley and Ben Roethlisberger. Starting next season, Roethlisberger will have two years left on his current deal. The last year of which will weigh about $17 million towards the salary cap.
That means either the Steelers re-structure his deal this coming offseason or they shop him to highest bidder. This of course assumes Haley is being brought back.
I honestly cannot see a scenario where Haley and Roethlisberger are paired for a third straight year. It would be foolish and irresponsible to do so and everyone from the fans to Mike Tomlin knows it.
Why Rapoport chose now to start the speculation of Roethlisberger’s future is beyond me. This isn’t the first time however that he has thrown something to the wall in hopes that it would stick though.
My feeling is that right now, no one is in a position to say anything regarding the future of Roethlisberger because there is still too much that can happen between now and the offseason.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 630pm ET talking Steelers and is a blogger for ESPN 970 in Pittsburgh.