Within the last 48 hours, there have been reports that Ben Roethlisberger isn’t happy with the way the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise is headed. There have been a lot of misconceptions about the story and a lot of media twists on NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport‘s actual report. Everything that is up in the air right now is simply speculation. One thing Ben Roethlisberger denied is that he will consider trade options in the offseason. Roethlisberger said himself, “I want to finish my career here, however long that is.” So, as far as Big Ben is concerned, he won’t go anywhere. But Big Ben doesn’t have all the power in the situation. And while the media blew up a simple report, even if it isn’t true, it does bring questions to the surface.
While Roethlisberger may want to stay loyal to his NFL alma-mater the Steelers have a lot of issues that need tending to. They are in need of some serious roster revamps, and with Big Ben’s big contract it could complicate the Steelers’ hunt for new beginnings at other positions. Plus, the Steelers have to look towards the future at some point. Ben is 31-years old right now and has been playing for nine seasons, but he has also taken a beaten by defenses perhaps more than any quarterback ever. How much time does Ben really have left?
It’s probably safe to say that the Steelers won’t make the playoffs this season, so they should start figuring out what needs to happen in order to be successful next season. Le’Veon Bell is vastly improving and has shown promise, but the run game is still an issue. The offensive line is a gigantic concern. In order for the offensive line to improve they’ll probably need to completely rebuild it around Markice Pouncey. The defense is aging and can use some renovations as well. Todd Haley‘s job may be questionable by the season’s end, and with Ben’s contract not many of these things can be a foreseeable reality.
So, is it time the Steelers let go of a man who bought Pittsburgh a new Super Bowl era and is close to statistically being the best Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback of all-time? It’s up in the air as to how much longer Ben can play at this high of a level with the beating he takes. If he stays with the Steelers that beating will most likely continue. If he goes to a team in need of a quarterback that has a better offensive line it may not. So, is it in his best interest to leave?
The Steelers need to re-build. They don’t have the personnel to be successful right now. If they re-build with Ben around it will take years for them to be a good team again because they’ll have to polish a lot of rookies. If they parted ways with Ben in the offseason they could get a decent quarterback in the draft and then build the rest of the team around that.
The Ben Roethlisberger Era has to end at some point. I love Ben and I want nothing more than for him to retire as a Steeler; he’s one of the best players to ever put on a black-and-yellow uniform. But the NFL is a business, and it’s a business where winning means everything. The Steelers are used to winning, and so is Big Ben. But will the Steelers get back to winning sooner if they just let Ben go and started rebuilding as opposed to keeping him around? Just some food for thought.