Column: The Pittsburgh Pulse

Story posted November 12, 2013 in Sports, CommRadio by Mike Wargon

With the Steelers starting the season 2-6, talks of them having to rebuild have swirled all year. Steeler’s fans remained calm however, knowing that if they had to rebuild they could do it with two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Now Roethlisberger’s return next season is in doubt.

According to multiple sources, Roethlisberger has no interest in being part of a team that will go through a rebuilding phase and will ask for a trade at the seasons end. While Roethlisberger’s agent has denied these reports, the notion that Big Ben will be traded is an interesting one. If the Steelers, who will not be in a position to win next year either, were to trade Roethlisberger they would most likely receive multiple picks in the draft. On top of the picks they would receive for Roethlisberger, they appear to be well on their way to a top five pick after the end of this season. They could use these picks to not only get a new quarterback, but also to fill other holes that they need.

While his agent says that Roethlisberger wants to remain in Pittsburgh for the entirety of his career, it is difficult to imagine a quarterback of Roethlisberger’s prowess staying through difficult times. The Steelers are not one or two players away from making a playoff push, but rather eight or nine players away. This is why it is so difficult to imagine Roethlisberger staying. Roethlisberger will turn 32 later this year and is reaching the stage of his career where he will begin to decline. It seems most logical that he would want to play for a contender as his career comes to an end.

Earlier in the year there were talks of Eli Manning, who was part of the same draft class as Roethlisberger, being traded. The talks eventually fell through, but quarterbacks who play at the level of Manning and Roethlisberger do not want to go through rebuilding years.

If the Steelers do end up trading Roethlisberger I think it would be a very smart move. Roethlisberger is scheduled to make $17.9 million in 2014 and $17.4 million the following year. If they can trade Roethlisberger for a couple draft picks they will save money and gain much needed talent. They can then use their draft pick from this year to get a quarterback in this years draft.

The Steelers are likely going to end up with a top five draft pick and that could be right in the range that Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater goes. Bridgewater is regarded as the best quarterback available in the upcoming draft and will be very highly coveted. If they cannot get Bridgewater, or do not want him, they can always trade the pick and move back in the draft. This way they will get more draft picks and can still get a quarterback later in the draft.

Also worth noting is that this season will most likely be the last for offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Haley has struggled since coming to Pittsburgh and was never able to work well with the offense.  It is also a viable option to think that the Steelers will fire Haley and allow Roethlisberger to stay and run a different offense. While the Steelers will most likely never be elite during Roethlisberger’s tenure, they can work to become a playoff team once again.

Mike Wargon is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email mjwargon@gmail.com.