Monday, April 19, 2010

Weighing In, Finally: Trade Ben for Nnamdi Asomugah and Draft Choices

One of the Cardinal Sins of authoring a blog is to let it go dormant. If the blog's author fails to post regularly -- nearly every day -- there's virtually no reason for anybody to read it.

GUILTY as charged, your honor. Joey Porter's Pit Bulls plead a massive mea culpa on that front, and not for lack of news regarding the Steelers, that's for sure.

In years past, in the weeks leading up to the draft, we were all over the pre-draft analysis, trade speculation, off-season moves, free-agent signings, off-field shenanigans, etcetera, ad nauseaum, ad infinitum.

Not this year. Been busy with other stuff, but the Steelers remain just as important to JPPB as ever.

Which brings us to ... well, all of the above.

THE story, of course, has been Ben Roethlisberger, and for all the wrong reasons. We've all heard all the arguments. Some people (apparently a distinct minority) say things like, "he hasn't been charged, he hasn't been arrested, nothing's been proven," blah, blah, blah.

Yeah, whatever. Those folks are entitled to their opinion. I've got mine.

Not to be moralistic or anything, but as the two-time Super Bowl Winning Quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Face of the Franchise and a major celebrity in his own right, Roethlisberger has got to realize he can do better than what he's been doing. As Terry Bradshaw said, he's got to realize he is held to a higher standard than other individuals, including most other players in the NFL.

As so many people have said, "Grow up." Instead of going to college bars and acting like an over-aged frat boy wearing a satan tee-shirt, show some class -- as if, say, oh, you had a $102 million dollar contract. Start acting like Daniel Craig as James Bond, put on some decent clothes, keep cool and act cool. Walk around with steely eyes and a steady demeanor. Go to some nicer places, for a change -- you can afford it.

Ben, just look at what the hell you've been doing? Look yourself in the mirror, man. Whaddaya see? Well, for one thing, when you wear a satanic tee-shirt, hmm, let's just quote a line from the action movie Four Brothers:

"When you keep knocking on the
devil's door,
somebody's gonna answer!"

Clearly, Roethlisberger has been unable to resist putting himself in situations that can lead to trouble. The incident in Georgia lends credibility, warranted or not, to previously reported incidents and rumors. And who knows how many other unreported incidents are out there lurking, just waiting to emerge in the news or be exposed by TMZ or other sources, including, possibly the women themselves.

He's gone from "Big Ben" to "Pig Ben." People across the Internet blogs and message boards are calling him "Rapistberger" instead of "Roethlisberger." Formally charged or not, he's guilty in the court of public opinion.

He's brought shame and disgrace upon his poor parents, his entire family, his teammates, The Great City of Pittsburgh, the Rooneys and the Steelers team. My team. He's messing with my team, and I don't like it. He's messing with Steelers' Nation, and he's brought shame and disgrace upon all of us. They must be loving this in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Dallas, Oakland, New England and elsewhere across the NFL.

That's part of it. So many implications and questions are at play here. Moral questions, legal questions, lawsuit questions, image/PR-disaster questions and, finally, football questions. What happens going forward? Who knows?

Joey Porter's Pit Bulls agree with Post-Gazette columnist Gene Collier's assertion in last Sunday's newspaper is that the time is right for the Steelers to sever ties with Roethlisberger. One more incident will reduce his trade value to zero. Zero.

If Roethlisberger is not good enough to be the face of PLB Sports, the manufacturer of "Big Ben's Beef Jerky," (ugh) how is he good enough to represent The Steelers? ... a billion-dollar enterprise, the pride of our city, one of the most storied enterprises in the NFL and, oh by the way, my team.

My team. And everybody else's in Steeler Nation, including all those thousands of women with No. 7 jerseys. He's given all of us a black eye.

The Steelers cannot afford to wait. Right now, he is still tradeable. Al Davis, as crazy as he is, would take him. Davis embraces the bad-boy, renegade image, and Pig Ben would fit right in. The Oakland Raiders have been irrelevant for years, and Roethlisberger would put them back in the spotlight Davis craves so much.

Trade Roethlisberger for All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugah, this year's high-second pick, and next year's first-rounder. Or something.

Everybody -- even Al Davis -- knows Jamarcus Russell ain't gonna make it, Bruce Gradkowski just tore a pectoral muscle, and Oakland just signed Kyle Boller. Good luck with that. Bingo! Welcome to Oakland, Ben.

Besides, following the Sebastian Janikowski signing, Bay Area media reported that Davis was looking to move Nnamdi Asomugah because of his contract.

With Ben gone, the Steelers could easily absorb Nnamdi Asomugah's contract. Corner problem solved, at least on one side. Draft an offensive lineman (Maurkice Pouncey or Mike Iupati) at No. 18 -- offensive line shored up. Draft the best player available (Golden Tate? Kyle Wilson? Kareem Jackson?) with Oakland's high-second pick. Ditto our own second-round pick.

If possible, somewhere during the draft -- and if available -- try to pick up a power, short-yardage back (
Toby Gerhardt from Stanford, for example) and, possibly, a quarterback such as Northwestern's Mike Kafka or Dan LeFevour, the QB from Central Michigan. It's a deep draft, and if there was ever a year to add depth and youth all across the roster, this is it.

Mark Bulger's out there (yeah, I know, he's done, so what). At this point, anything would be better than Ben, no matter the immediate consequences on-field.

It is getting near past the time to sever ties with Ben Roethlisberger. Get rid of him. Now.

Just in time for the draft.


Ron Ferraro said...

I would have preferred trading him yesterday, but I would still consider doing it today. It's about risk, really. I think the Steelers CAN still win without Ben. The defense, Jeff Reed, and 3 decent back-up QBs make me think we can get back to running the ball, kicking it when we need to, and shutting down the opposing team's offense. They used to call that Steeler football. What do we risk WITH Ben? A whole lot of money, that's what. An image disaster the likes of which no team has ever suffered in the NFL. And, what if more cases & accusations pop up later and the suspension is extended? Also, even if they don't and this all quiets down... how many concussions has Ben had? He thinks he's invincible, but sooner or later, he's going to hang onto that ball for too long again, probably against the Ravens, and he'll be done for good. Just like that. Sure, it's nice to think he'll turn his image around, but even if he wins another Super Bowl as a Steeler, what happens when jokers start calling it the Rape Bowl or call each Ben TD a gropedown? It's bad, man.

Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls said...

Thanks for your comment. I'm surprised to have any readers at this point, so it's nice to receive a comment or two. I appreciate it, especially after having let the blog go more or less dormant for the past few months.

Great points, all. The Steelers missed their opportunity to trade Ben in time for this year's draft ... and that may be either because: (1) He is considered "radioactive," as ESPN's Adam Schefter said, and no other tean wants to touch him right now; or, (2) the Steelers were asking too much in return; i.e., a Top 10 choice this year, another number one, a good player and/or additional draft picks.

That's why I thought my proposed trade with Oakland would have worked nicely: it should have been palatable for both sides, although with Oakland Al, there's no telling what might be going through his crazy cranium.

It turns out the Raiders actually have no fewer than FIVE QBs on the roster right now -- I neglected to mention Charlie Frye and J.P. Lossman. Again, good luck with THAT.

I was extremely disappointed that the Vikings jumped in front of the Steelers to take RB Toby Gerhart in the 2nd round. They must have known the Steelers were interested. I was hoping, fervently, that the Steelers would take Gerhart in the second round and return to an emphasis on the running game, time of possession, etc. They need to do that, anyway, especially with Ben out for four games, but they also need to rein in Ben's improvisational play-calling. I get the feeling Bruce Arians may as well be ordering pizza when he calls plays into Ben's helmet microphone.

Your point about possible past incidents surfacing, or potential future concussions occurring, is well-taken. The Post-Gazette reported yesterday that the Steelers and the NFL will require Ben to undergo "neuropsychological testing" to determine whether he's suffered frontal-lobe brain damage from the motorcycle accident and from his numerous concussions.

The Post-Gazette quoted an M.D. who knows about such matters as saying, "neuropsychological testing would probably be used to determine if there was any damage to Mr. Roethlisberger's frontal lobe, known as a human's emotional control center, because, among other functions, it controls judgment, impulse control and social and sexual behavior. Such testing would be apropos given Mr. Roethlisberger's 2006 motorcycle accident when he wasn't wearing a helmet, concussions he has suffered during his playing days and allegations of his behavior in Georgia."

You're right, Ron: One more allegation or one more concussion ... well, let's just say that the odds that Ben's trade value will diminish even further appear to greater than the odds that his trade value will improve.

I was also disappointed that they passed on Golden Tate, and instead took a developmental player, Jason Worilds. Baffling.

Their 4th-round choice baffles me, too. I would have rather seen them take the CB from IUP.