Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Just sin, baby: Raiders good fit for Big Ben

According to, the Steelers are considering trading Ben Roethlisberger in the wake of the NFL suspending the embattled QB six games for violating the league's personal conduct policy. Reportedly, the Steelers have reached out to teams that own top-10 selections in Thursday night's opening round of the NFL Draft to gauge interest in a deal for Roethlisberger, with at least one team, and perhaps more, discussing the possibilities of such a trade internally.

It's pretty easy to figure out which teams Pittsburgh might have reached out to, and it's even easier to identify who might be the "at least one team" seriously thinking about making a move for the embattled QB who fell from grace with a crash.

Don't be surprised if before the eighth-overall selection in the first round, the team owning that pick sends a note up to the stage in New York, and commissioner Roger Goodell says, "There has been a trade."

Which would mean that Roethlisberger would still be wearing black, but would trade the gold trim of Pittsburgh for the silver trim of the Oakland Raiders.

Think of it -- Al Davis' traditional haven for miscreants and outlaws would welcome yet another one to the fold. And I'll bet as we speak, Tom Cable is punching out an assistant coach who disagrees with the logic of such a move.

The Raiders are one of four teams with Top 10 positioning and a glaring need at quarterback (more about the other three in a minute), and what better way for the angry and embarrassed Steelers to expel Roethlisberger to purgatory than to ship him to Oakland? Remember, the Raiders were part of the conversation to acquire Donovan McNabb before the Eagles inexplicably traded their QB to the Redskins. And Roethlisberger -- even with a six-game suspension -- would probably put up better numbers in 10 games than the Raiders' current QB threesome of Charlie Frye, celebrated draft bust JaMarcus Russell and Bruce Gradkowski could dream of in a full season.

Consider that Roethlisberger passed for 4,328 yards and 26 TDs last season, while Frye, Russell and Gradkowski threw for 2,875 yards and 10 TDs COMBINED.

Oakland brought free agent Kyle Boller into the mix to compete for a spot, but on his best day, Boller could never come close to what Big Ben can do on even an average day.

The other three teams with Top 10 Draft picks that could consider adding Roethlisberger are the Bucs (No. 3 overall), Browns (No. 7) and Bills (No. 9).

Tampa Bay's QB is youngster Josh Freeman (1,857 yards, 10 TDs in 2009), and Cleveland's anointed starter is Derek Anderson (888 yards, 3 TDs) after Brady Quinn was traded to the Broncos. Buffalo has Brian Brohm, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Trent Edwards, who combined for 2,737 yards and 15 TDs.

But Ralph Wilson, who has owned the Bills since their inception, is probably too conservative to consider such a move. The Bucs are a bad team, but their owner, Malcolm Glazer, may be too focused on his other, more profitable sports venture -- Manchester United -- to give the American version of Big Ben much thought, and Browns owner Randy Lerner has come under much scrutiny on the shores of Lake Erie after the perhaps-too-quick hiring of Eric Mangini as coach last year, and may be a bit gun-shy.

All of which adds up to a very possible scenario come Thursday night that could make Roethlisberger a Raider.

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