Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Roethlisberger suspended: Analysis and what's next

The news was finally released today: the National Football League (NFL) will suspend Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback (QB) Ben Roethlisberger four to six games for “violating the NFL's personal conduct policy”. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a public letter to Roethlisberger, “In your six years in the NFL, you have first thrilled and now disappointed a great many people. I urge you to take full advantage of this opportunity to get your life and career back on track.” According to the released NFL report, Roethlisberger has to go through behavior evaluation and counseling before being allowed back to play or practice.

This was a good move by the NFL. Roethlisberger has been accused by 3 different women of sexual assault, he got into a motorcycle crash four years (when it’s in his contract he isn’t allowed to ride a motorcycle!), and he had couple incidents in college that some people say that his university have tried to keep it quiet. He may be a nice guy and he has won 2 Super Bowls with the Steelers. But Commissioner Gödel has shown that no one is beyond reproach in the NFL. Roethlisberger has continuously put himself in bad situation. Even if he is innocent of all accusations, the fact that he has such an immense lack of judgment and puts himself into situations where he could be accused of any wrong doing shows he has issues that need to be dealt with.

So now as a result of Roethlisberger’s suspension, the Steelers are looking to trade him and they should. The Pittsburgh Steelers have been one of the most respected organizations in NFL history. They have been disgraced off the field by Roethlisberger and former Wide Receiver (WR) Santonio Homes’ behavior. The fans and the organization of the Steelers have stood behind these two for long enough. Roethlisberger is suppose to be the face of the Steelers franchise and is one of the most well known players in the NFL. He is supposed to carry himself with more character and professionalism then he has.

Holmes was traded to the Jets for a 5th round draft pick. Now the Steelers are looking to trade Roethlisberger for a 1st round draft pick in this Thursday’s NFL Draft. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Steelers have contacted St. Louis Rams, Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, Seattle Seahawks, and San Francisco 49ers about trading Roethlisberger for their 1st round pick.

According to reports the Rams and Bills have already said “no” to trading for Roethlisberger. Here’s a breakdown of those teams that are being offered Roethlisberger:

- The Rams, who own the top pick in the draft, are more likely to accept a trade to move down a few picks and draft another QB in the draft instead of taking on Roethlisberger and his baggage. The Rams have invested a lot of time scouting, working out, and interviewing QB prospects like Sam Bradford, Jimmy Claussen, and Colt McCoy. The Rams are considering a trade with the Browns to give them the 1st overall for the Browns pick at 7th overall and a couple of their other draft picks. The idea behind this trade is to allow the Browns to pick Sam Bradford with the top pick and the Rams can draft Jimmy Claussen with the 7th overall pick.

-The Browns General Manager Mike Holmgren likes Quarterbacks who can handle complex offenses like Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Jon Kitna, and Matt Hasselbeck. Roethlisberger is a good QB but has never played in a West Coast type offense before so he is unproven in that type of system. Also Holmgren and Head Coach Eric Mangini have a great deal of interest in Sam Bradford and would like to find a way to draft him; the afore mentioned trade with the Rams is still “on the table”.

-The Bills would not be too interested in Roethlisberger because their new Head Coach Chan Gailey wants to run an offense in Buffalo that Roethlisberger wouldn’t fit well. Gailey wants to run a spread offense that requires a mobile QB who can read coverages quickly and has good accuracy. Roethlisberger doesn’t fit Gailey’s criteria. Gailey would like to draft a QB like Colt McCoy, Tony Pike or Zak Robinson who is mobile athlete, an accurate passer and has experience in the spread offense.

-The Raiders wanted to acquire Donovan McNabb but the Philadelphia Eagles traded him to the Washington Redskins. The Raiders desperately need a good starting QB. They haven’t had a Pro Bowl caliber starting QB since Rich Gannon was the starting QB seven years ago. Roethlisberger would be perfect for a franchise that has a high level of tolerance for their players off the field activities. Oakland has become the home for teams to dump off their unwanted players at. Also, Oakland wouldn’t mind taking on Roethlisberger’s contract.

-The Jaguars don’t need a Public Relations mess that Roethlisberger would be for them in a city where they already have trouble selling tickets and convincing people to come out to games. They want to draft a player who is well known in Florida to sell tickets, like University of Florida hero Tim Tebow.
-The 49ers are a good QB away from winning the NFC West division this year. They had interest in McNabb but were unsure if they could resign McNabb. Roethlisberger signed an eight year contract in 2008 so the 49ers would not have to worry about resigning him. Also they have two 1st round picks in this year’s draft so if they traded one of those picks to the Steelers they would still be able to draft one of the players they really want. It would be a win-win for the 49ers to get a proven QB and still get to draft in the 1st round.

-The Seahawks’ QB situation is already in flux and to add Roethlisberger would cause serious confusion. Seattle already has a veteran QB in Matt Hasselbeck and a young QB in Charlie Whitehurst. Whitehurst was brought in by the Seahawks to be their future QB. Seattle also has two first round picks but there is a lot of expectation that new Head Coach Pete Carroll wants to rebuild this team through the draft. I would expect the Seahawks to keep both picks and draft (if available) Tennessee Safety Eric Berry at the 6th overall pick and Clemson Running Back C.J. Spillers at the 14th overall pick.

SIDE NOTE: If the Steelers follow through with trading Roethlisberger they are fine at the QB position. They right now have three other Quarterbacks on the roster who have played in Pittsburgh’s offense. Byron Leftwitch will probably be the starting QB since he played well in a few games when Roethlisberger was injured. Along with Leftwitch the Steelers have a young QB Dennis Dixon who the Steelers coaching staff wants to see if he can develop into a good NFL caliber QB. The Steelers have gotten by without Roethlisberger in the past and they can again without him.

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