Steelers. Roethlisberger’s agent refute trade rumors
Rapoport said that Roethlisberger is “incredibly frustrated” with the direction of the team, entering the second half of the season on a 3-6 record and clearly not headed for bigger or better things this year. Among the many problems this season, Roethlisberger reportedly continues to have issues with the Steelers’ coaching staff, including offensive coordinator Todd Haley – who could be the first to land on the chopping block at the end of the season. While Rapoport said the team could explore “wholesale offensive changes” due to their struggles along the offensive line during the 2013 season, the Steelers might be without their veteran signal-caller going forward as well. The NFL Network report indicated that the two-time Super Bowl winner Roethlisberger may ask to be traded at the end of this season.
Despite that, Rapoport added that the Steelers do not plan to trade Roethlisberger unless they can find a franchise quarterback replacement through the draft. For what its’ worth, the 2014 NFL draft projects an incredibly deep college draft class at the quarterback position.
But Roethlisberger’s agent, Ryan Tollner, was quick to fire back by out-right denying any such trade request.
"Ian Rapoport's apparent sources seem to be guessing what Ben feels about the Steelers and being traded. This is completely wrong and inaccurate,” Tollner stated. “Ben has always said he wants to play his entire career for the Steelers, and his roots are set firmly in Pittsburgh. He has a lot left in the tank and is 100 percent committed to winning more championships with the Steelers."
The Steelers also followed suit with President Art Rooney II disputing Roethlisberger trade rumors in a statement posted on the team’s official website:
“Contrary to erroneous reports, the Pittsburgh Steelers have not explored trading quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and have no plans to do so.”
Soon after, Rapoport responded to Rooney’s statement with the tweet: “What Steelers denied, I did not report.”
While the Steelers did not field offers for Roethlisberger this offseason, Rapoport expected the team to reconsider that approach the coming year on the basis that they also listed to offers last season. But Roethlisberger, who is signed through the 2015 season demands a $12.1 million in base salary due in 2014 and $11.6 million in the following season, while having total cap hit of 34.9 over the next two seasons. If the 31-year-old was traded in the offseason, the Steelers would end up with $11 million in dead money, which would be a huge burden for an already cap-strapped franchise.