Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's agent Ryan Tollner has denied reports that Big Ben could be in a new uniform next season, courtesy of Rep 1 Sports.
"Ian Rapoport's apparent sources seem to be guessing what Ben feels about the Steelers and being traded. This is completely wrong (Cont)— Rep 1 Sports (@Rep1Sports) November 10, 2013
"and inaccurate. Ben has always said he wants to play his entire career for the Steelers, and his roots are set firmly in Pittsburgh (cont)— Rep 1 Sports (@Rep1Sports) November 10, 2013
"he has a lot left in the tank & is 100% committed to winning more championships with the Steelers." --Agent Ryan Tollner, Rep1 Sports— Rep 1 Sports (@Rep1Sports) November 10, 2013
Will Graves of the Associated Press followed:
Steelers pres Art Rooney II: ", the Pittsburgh Steelers have not explored trading quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and have no plans to do so"— Will Graves (@WillGravesAP) November 10, 2013
Rothlisberger addressed the report after the Steelers' win vs. Buffalo via Scott Brown of ESPN:
"When it comes to wanting to go somewhere else or anything like that, that's completely unacceptable," Roethlisberger said. "It's one of the most B.S. stories I've ever heard.
"I'm not quitting, and that means in more ways than one. I'm not quitting on anything, this season, this team, these fans. I'm going to give it everything I have. This is home."
Roethlisberger said his wanting out of Pittsburgh is so far from the truth that Tollner, who is also a close friend of his, did not even talk to Roethlisberger before issuing his unequivocal denial of the report.
"He knows exactly how I feel, and how I don't want to go anywhere," Roethlisberger said.
NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport first reported the 31-year-old signal-caller will ask his organization to explore trade options in the coming offseason.
#Steelers sources expect Big Ben to ask them to explore trade options after 2013. They fielded offers for him last offseason. Could again— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 10, 2013
NFL Media PR tweeted out a quote from Rapoport, reporting that the veteran quarterback is “incredibly frustrated” with his team’s direction.
From @RapSheet: "I’m told Ben Roethlisberger is not happy; incredibly frustrated with the direction the franchise is headed."— NFL Media PR (@InsideNFLMedia) November 10, 2013
On Thursday, Nov. 14, Jason Cole of National Football Post reported fans still shouldn't expect a Big Ben trade while providing insight into expectations for Roethlisberger's next contract:
While talk of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger being traded or even requesting a trade is a bit premature at this point, a looming issue for him and the Pittsburgh Steelers is a contract extension that is likely to be discussed this offseason.
A contract the 31-year-old Roethlisberger would expect to be north of $20 million per season, putting him in line with fellow quarterbacks Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco. Roethlisberger is signed through the 2015 season as part of an eight-year, $102 million deal he agreed to in 2008.
This is apparently nothing new for the Steelers, as Rapoport noted that the club listened to offers for Roethlisberger this past offseason as well.
It is worth mentioning that the franchise reportedly did not consider trading Roethlisberger during the season, even when it was just 2-5 ahead of the deadline.
#Steelers have not had internal discussions about trading Roethlisberger this year. Not at trade deadline. Last year, another team called.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 10, 2013
Rapoport found that the only way Pittsburgh would be willing to give up the two-time Super Bowl winner is if it can acquire another franchise quarterback.
Could the #Steelers actually trade Big Ben? I was told no… unless they could replace him with a franchise QB. In this draft, they could.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 10, 2013
With the team floundering at 2-6 heading into its Week 10 matchup with the Buffalo Bills, there is a good chance it receives a high pick in the upcoming NFL draft.
A handful of elite college quarterbacks (Teddy Bridgewater, Marcus Mariota, Tajh Boyd, Johnny Manziel, Zach Mettenberger, AJ McCarron, Derek Carr, Aaron Murray) are expected to be available, making it one of the deepest classes at the position in years.
However, the Steelers would still need to find a taker for Roethlisberger, who will be heading into his 11th season in the NFL and turning 32 years old ahead of the 2014 campaign.
Fortunately, he’s commanding a reasonable salary, and a proven quarterback is still a valuable commodity in the league.
Big Ben was signed to an eight-year, $102 million deal, which has him locked in for the remainder of this season and the next two. His base salary is $12.1 million in 2014 and $11.6 million in 2015.
That could be an issue for the Steelers, as Rapoport pointed out there are doubts that they will be able to pay him.
Another issue for Big Ben: Looming contract situation. 2 years left, small salary, big cap number. Some doubts he can get paid in Pittsburgh— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 10, 2013
Rapoport found that colleague Mike Silver believes Arizona is a possible landing destination, as Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians served as Roethlisberger’s offensive coordinator from 2007 through 2011.
With the mediocre Carson Palmer serving as a stopgap under center, the team would be upgrading at the position and have its first proven commodity since Kurt Warner retired following the 2009 season.
There are eight games left on the 2013 slate, so the Steelers still have time to convince Roethlisberger that staying with the Black and Yellow is the best option for not only his chances of winning more Super Bowls but also getting paid.