Big Ben, Raiders seem to be a perfect match

Let’s pretend you’re Art Rooney II for a moment and you’re trying to deal with the internal war that has been raging inside you since Ben Roethlisberger was once again accused of not being able to keep his hands to himself.

Your head is telling you that it’s unwise to get rid of a franchise quarterback because after all, it’s not like they’re sitting on shelves next to the Big Bites at 7-Eleven. Trade Big Ben and you run the risk of setting your already diminishing franchise back several years in the process.

But then your emotions start to get the best of you again. You know that even though Big Ben the groper hasn’t been charged with anything, this clearly isn’t the trustworthiest of people. In the past four years, he’s been accused of sexually assaulting two women and almost killed himself by not wearing a helmet while riding his motorcycle. Considering he was just suspended six games next season, maybe it’s time to cut your losses and close the final chapter on the Ben Roethlisberger era in Pittsburgh.

Now, finding a trade partner is a little harder that it seems. More than half the league needs a franchise quarterback, but teams aren’t usually overly excited to part with a first rounder for a player with a history of making poor off-field choices and who will be suspended for the first part of next season. Buffalo, Kansas City and San Francisco are three teams that might be interested, but all three would likely pass in the end. The Bills can’t field a competitive team around Big Ben, while the Chiefs and 49ers aren’t likely to part with other players in order to pay for his services (especially in KC’s case, which shelled out big money to sign Matt Cassel last year).

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Steelers still open to trading Roethlisberger

Although the rumors have died down a bit over the last couple of days, the Steelers have not ruled out trading quarterback Ben Roethlisberger if the right deal comes along.

Per a report by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers aren’t actively seeking a trade for Big Ben and won’t dump him the way they did receiver Santonio Holmes (who was recently traded to the Jets in exchange for a fifth rounder). But if the right trade came along, the Rooney family wouldn’t hesitate signing off on a deal.

On Tuesday, the Steelers acquired Byron Leftwich from the Buccaneers in exchange for a seventh round pick. The deal indicates that the Steelers are preparing to be without Big Ben for at least part of the 2010 season and it may even suggest that they’re ready to move on period. Leftwich was a shade above horrendous last year in Tampa, but he did play well in Bruce Arians’ offense in limited action two years ago. If Roethlisberger were dealt, Leftwich would compete for Pittsburgh’s starting quarterback job with Dennis Dixon, or perhaps even a rookie prospect.

It still seems unlikely that Big Ben will be dealt, but it’s clear that his on-field resume won’t save him in the eyes of the Rooneys. The fact that he’s embarrassed the franchise holds more weight than his two Super Bowl victories. Holmes was the team’s Super Bowl MVP two years ago and now he’s in New York. Roethlisberger will just have to hold his breath this weekend and await his fate in Pittsburgh.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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