Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger's agents perplexed by trade rumors
All those stories by NFL Network about turmoil between Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers? All parties deny it, and the whole situation is perplexing, Jason La Canfora reports.
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Steelers high-ranking sources have continued to maintain that NFL Network reports of them fielding trades for Ben Roethlisberger in the past, or planning to this offseason and preparing for his departure this offseason have, “zero truth, are fabricated and are totally, totally false.” Furthermore, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, Roethlisberger and his agents, Bruce and Ryan Tollner, have never had one discussion about any thoughts or desire to leave Pittsburgh or pursue a trade. If anything they want to find ways for him to end his career with the team.
Roethlisberger has two years left on his deal, one the Steelers can easily handle given his modest $12.1 million salary for 2014. In fact, he is a bargain when compared to Joe Flacco, Sam Bradford, Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, Tony Romo or any other number of quarterbacks. Furthermore, with 40 players signed for 2014 at $132.5 million -- over the 2014 cap -- the mere idea of dealing Roethlisberger and incurring a near $12 million cap hit to do so, is nonsensical, Steelers sources said, something they have not considered and would not consider. Roethlisberger’s cap number and salary actually decrease by $500,000 in 2015, which is again, hardly a contract they need to get out from under or move to another team.
Roethlisberger’s cap number does approach $19 million in 2014 -- high, but hardly out of the norm for franchise quarterbacks -- but the team can shed ample cap space by parting with players like Levi Brown and Troy Polamalu to get under the cap, and has a host of restructuring candidates in Antonio Brown, LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons that they could withstand carrying Roethlisberger’s cap number throughout his contract and not have it severely limit their ability to field a talented roster, team sources said.
If anything, keeping Roethlisberger as long as possible and extending him is more likely than entertaining dealing him in a few months. It simply is not on their radar. Roethlisberger’s repeated denials of intending to seek a trade have not wavered, and he has not approached his agents about the situation, either.
“It’s November, and he has two years left on his deal,” said a source close to the two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback. “This isn’t even something he has thought about. It could not be further from the truth. He’s thinking about the next game and his son’s birthday. This is ridiculous.”
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