Raiders, Rams, Jaguars and Bills all out of the running for Big Ben

At the start of the week, there was speculation that the Raiders, Rams, Jaguars and Bills were all trade possibilities for Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. But after the Rams and Bills both dropped out of the running on Wednesday, the Jaguars and Raiders followed suit today and now the Steelers don’t appear to have any viable trade partners heading into tonight’s draft.

In reality, the Raiders were the only team that made sense, because they’re the only team that wouldn’t care about Big Ben’s contract, off-field baggage and six-game suspension at the start of next season. There should be no bigger wake up call to a player then when even Al Davis doesn’t want you. (Actually, Davis probably doesn’t want Roethlisberger because he doesn’t want to admit that he made a colossal mistake by drafting JaMarcus Russell four years ago.)

According to ESPN’s John Clayton, the Cardinals have contacted the Steelers about a possible trade, but did not make an offer that would lead to a deal getting done soon. Ken Whisenhunt was Big Ben’s offensive coordinator for three years in Pittsburgh, so it would make sense that Arizona would be interested. But at the end of the day, Roethlisberger will likely still be a Steeler in 2010.

For now, the only thing Pittsburgh can do is ride out Ben’s suspension and hope he learns something from it. They’ll prepare for Week 1 with Bryon Leftwich and Dennis Dixon competing for the starting job, then figure out Roethlisberger’s future at a later time.

It could be a rough year in the “Steel City.”


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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.


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