FanPost

Deal or no deal?

I know everyone is tired of talking about Roethlisberger, but I think there's one tremendously important outcome that has yet to be determined and is more football than "sex" related -- should / will the Steelers trade him and what is a reasonable price for a two time Super Bowl winning QB?  I'm not going to advocate that they should trade him and I think parting with a QB of his caliber has amazingly high risk but I also believe that regardless of your opinion of Ben,  there are logical arguments for why a trade may occur.  One more off the field issue and he may be looking at a long-term suspension, he's already had multiple concussions and his style of play has to lead to increased injury risk as he ages.

Additionally, if the Rooney's are actually as upset about this as the media is telling it, they could be intent on trading him simply because they think he's a bad guy and they're in charge.  Portraying the Steelers' ownership as having higher morals than the other league owners may be a little ridiculous but they're clearly ticked off and they've shown through the Santonio deal that they're not going to let one player ruin their brand.  Finally, everybody has a price - so let's examine a few rumored teams and at least consider what could be an acceptable deal for Ben.

I think starting with the closest comparable transactions is best.  There have been other QB deals over the last few years but none other than Cutler's are a great fit.  NE traded Matt Cassel for a 2 but Cassel is nowhere near Ben's league and I'm not sure whether Belicheck took the best offer or gave his former GM and friend a discount.  Donovan Mcnabb for a 2 (37th) and 3 or 4 (TBD) could be considered similar but McNabb is at a different stage of his career.  Finally, Matt Schaub for two 2's (39th and 48th) and a swap of first rounders (dropped from 8 to 10), although Schaub was an unproven backup at the time.  Using the league's Value Chart the net value of the deals are (I'm estimating unknown pick values: i.e. 3rd or 4th for McNabb, I'm using the value of the last pick in the third round which is a probably reasonable considering it's unknown A. where the Skin's pick will be B. if it will be a 3 or 4):

Cassel: 560 pts, 34th overall + Vrabel

McNabb: 646 pts, which is the equivalent of around the 28th overall pick

Schaub: 1030 pts, equivalent to 16th and 154th overall

Cutler: Chicago gave up two first round picks (18th in 2009), Kyle Orton and a third (84th) for Jay Cutler and a fifth (140th): 2284 pts, equivalent to the 3rd, and 105th overall + Kyle Orton

Using the VC as a guide, that means the Bears paid over twice as much as Houston paid for Schaub AND they gave away at least a league average QB.  That's a pretty freaking steep price if you ask me.  And Jay Cutler isn't exactly the pope - he's known for great physical talents but being a malcontent and making stupid decisions at times.  In other words, we have a match for BB except that the price for Ben has to be higher because he's proven that he can get it done under pressure in big situations.  The point here is that elite level QBs don't get traded in the prime of their careers and if they do, other teams are wiling to pay a very high price.  The Steelers, despite potentially backing themselves into the trade, should not accept less.

So, now we can establish a minimal acceptable package based on history (using Oakland as an example):

2010 1st rounder (8th)

2011 1st (let's assume they get better with Ben and drop to 20th overall)

2010 2nd and possibly a

2011 3rd

Total of 2,600 - 800 pts.  Steelers draft best available at 8 and 18 (Clausen, one of the 3 top OT, Bulaga) and have 4 picks in ~ top 50.  However one of the these additional picks has to be used to replaces Ben (assuming you can nail another QB draft pick) so the net talent input is two top 50 players and maybe an additional top 100.       

Realistically, trading Ben has negative short-term implications which means the Steelers punt on this season and have a top 10-15 pick on their own next year.  However, if Ben is suspended for 4 or more games, they may be in this situation anyway.  Maybe that pick can be leveraged to move high enough next year so that they are able to grab a QB in a class that includes Jake Locker and Ryan Mallet  In my opinion, that's a TON of risk to take for getting younger at QB and gaining 2 additional players but the decision itself to deal Ben is done out of desperation.  If they somehow get all 3-4 picks right, and draft well using their own, they rejuvinate a team that's starting to age at a few key positions and set themselves up for long-term sucess.  So let's say, hypotethically Ben = Trent Williams or Bulaga + Patrick Robison or Terrance Cody + Jake Locker or Ryan Mallett (probably wishful thinking on the QBs)

Who could be interested?

Oakland (8):  Everyone knows Al Davis doesn't give a rat's behind about character and he would LOVE to have a big armed QB - almost a perfect match.

Buffalo (9):  Desperate to improve at QB

Seattle (6): Multiple first round picks in 2010; need to replace Hassleback 

Other less likely candidates in my opinion: SF (also 2 first rounders), Jacksonville

Clearly, Seattle would be ideal because you would eliminate the chance of having to face Ben in the AFC playoffs and they already have 2 picks which one would think would make them more amenable to a deal. 

So, what do you think - what is your asking price? FWIW, I think trading away a franchise move is a colossal mistake because they're so damn hard to find, but there the "other" factos are going to dominate this decision.

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