Now that the suspension has been handed down, there’s ample speculation about the possibility of Roethlisberger getting dealt during draft weekend or soon thereafter. They pulled the trigger on Santonio Holmes, a former Super Bowl MVP, so nobody’s untouchable.
Who can make it happen?
St. Louis is a no-go. The Rams are trying to fire up the fan base, and while his arrival would bring fanfare and attention, I don’t know that you want to build from there. Roethlisberger has an injury history and has absorbed a ton of hits in his six NFL seasons. Take Sam Bradford and look to the future.
Cleveland: It doesn’t seem like a Mike Holmgren kind of fit and it’s unlikely that the Steelers would trade him in-division. That, and the fact that Cleveland has a lot of other needs to address in addition to the quarterback position that was flipped this offseason.
Seattle: Pete Carroll is building things from scratch. However, he’s showing that he likes reclamation projects by signing receivers Mike Williams and Reggie Williams. Roethlisberger is only 28, while starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck turns 35 in September. Seattle certainly has ample early-round picks to consider a deal (6th, 14th and 40th overall selections).
Buffalo: They need something to get the train moving in the right direction. Bringing in a proven quarterback would be a nice start.
Jacksonville: Likewise, Jacksonville needs something to spark the squad. David Garrard has been a solid option, but hasn’t lived up to the big payday he received. Even with the thoughts of squashing character concerns in Jacksonville, wouldn’t a two-time Super Bowl champion be enticing and re-engage the fan base?
Oakland: Can Al Davis put aside the amount of money he’s spent on JaMarcus Russell and look to the future of his squad? A change of coasts might be a positive for Roethlisberger, although I know bad comics are already crafting their “of course he goes to Oakland!” takes.
Roethlisberger was ranked toward the back-end of the starters for 2010 prior to the suspension. Obviously, a minimum four-game suspension drops him toward the list a few spots. But, how far does he fall when you consider the 12 games (assuming you make the playoffs and a run into the fantasy title game) for which he’ll be eligible?
He slides behind the likes of Carson Palmer, Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan, but I can’t slip him past the aforementioned Garrard or second-year starter Matthew Stafford just yet.
As for the Pittsburgh squad, you’re looking at Dennis Dixon for the start of the season unless something shifts and he melts down to let Batch or Leftwich snag the job. That means more opportunities for Heath Miller (when healthy) and short routes for Hines Ward (PPR leagues rejoice). However, Roethlisberger’s absence hurts the prospects of Mike Wallace stepping into a dominant role. He’ll produce, but I’m less bullish right now
Finally, you’re looking at a HUGE workload for Rashard Mendenhall in his third year. Willie Parker is gone, and you can expect to see the Steelers return to the traditional smash-mouth formation.
The long road to training camp has begun. This weekend, I’ll be blogging, yelling and spewing off stats and analysis about the NFL Draft, the NFL schedule & one million other topics.
Each year, I hit the road and catch a number of practices, a stretch that always includes a trip to Pittsburgh. Last year’s visit occurred just after the Lake Tahoe news broke. I’m curious to see the vibe among the 10,000-12,000 fans come August.