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Thursday, April 15, 2010
Big Ben available? Raiders should jump

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Now, this is a quarterback Oakland should look into.

NFL.com is reporting that the Pittsburgh Steelers are fed up with Ben Roethlisberger’s off-field life and they are willing to listen to offers. The report said the Steelers have not talked to any teams yet, but have had internal discussions about it.

Ben Roethlisberger
At age 28, Ben Roethlisberger is very much in his prime.
If the Steelers truly want to trade Roethlisberger, this is a sweepstakes that is worth the Raiders’ time.

The Raiders were interested in Donovan McNabb and have reportedly shown interest in Jason Campbell and Sage Rosenfels. They’ve been linked to Jimmy Clausen and Tim Tebow in the draft. All of these options have flaws for Oakland, which is clearly not totally content with their current quarterback crew consisting of JaMarcus Russell, Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye.

While most of the above options would be risky and not solve long-term issues, the Roethlisberger addition would be a perfect solution to Oakland. He’d help both in the short and long term. Roethlisberger is 28 and he has a good 7-8 years remaining in his career. He’s in his prime.

With Roethlisberger behind center, the Raiders’ streak of seven straight years with 11 or more losses would become a memory right away.

He’d make Oakland’s young receivers better and the running game would be better because of his presence. The guy is crafty and he knows how to lead an offense. Say what you want about Roethlisberger, but the guy is a winner. He is an elite quarterback.

If he is available, the Raiders have to take advantage of this unusual opportunity. Instead of floundering along at the position and looking at lackluster ways of improving, the Raiders should try to grab Roethlisberger if the Steelers are serious about listening to offers.

ESPN.com reported that Oakland would be open to making superstar cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha available in a McNabb package. I didn’t like that idea. In this deal, it could be worth thinking about. I love Asomugha’s ability, but if dealing him brought a top-flight quarterback in return, Oakland would have to think about it.

Yes, Roethlisberger has to be considered a risk because of his recent history. But it’s worth the risk because of his ability and being traded could be a wake-up call. If the Raiders really want a new quarterback, and if Roethlisberger is really available, this is the player the Raiders need to pursue.