Last week the question seemed to be does Ben want out? You could argue now that the question is why would Ben want to stay? The week before all this happened after a tough loss to New England, press reports portrayed Ben as stepping up as a team leader, holding himself accountable and as seen in the New England game is not backing down and will fight to the bitter end. He had teammates' backs and they had his. I did not see Ben throw teammates under a bus. Ben did not call his OL crap. He acknowledged his style of play and asked for his line to perform to the level of talent he knows they have. A week later after a win and a glimmer of hope it seems to be falling apart. What gives?
NFL.Com / NFL Network starts everything up, but then come up with a story asking if there is smoke behind the fire. Now it seems that there is a feeling that this is all a plan to get Ben to take less money. If this is true the Steelers now look like George Costanza trying to get hand.
If someone from the front office is doing this, they should stop. It looks ridiculous. It seems someone with the team wants Ben to be like Peyton but they do not want to treat him like Peyton nor pay him like Peyton. When Peyton is looking at that playbook at home, it is basically based on the same playbook from his rookie year. When Payton came to Denver he got to run an offense that he was comfortable with. This offseason Denver signed Wes Welker. People who have had success generally want what they feel comfortable with not what other people feel what is best for them.
There is a great article by Gerry Dulac on the double edge sword of having a Franchise QB. Having a Franchise QB is not easy. Not having one is pure hell. A NFL GM's sole focus at times seems to be to figure out how to do the impossible with the cap. People looking for "hand" is not going to help matters.
Ben is a far better person and QB than when he arrived in Pittsburgh. In 2011 his sack % continued on its downward trajectory. (By the way Aaron Rodgers is the most sacked QB over the past five years not Ben.) Ben grew into the system. Stability helps QB's succeed. Why would Ben want to extend his contract in an unstable situation? If I were Ben, I would play the final two years out and let the chips fall where they may. Why commit to someone who is looking for an out? To me helping a team with cap space does not make since if it does not put you in a good space too.
The team has no "hand", but they do have a franchise QB. At this point in the NFL, that seems to be the way it is supposed to be and will be for the foreseeable future. (That and George having no hand)