Ben Roethlisberger will be suspended for the first six games (without pay) to start the 2010 season. Commissioner Roger Goodell decided to suspend the Steelers’ quarterback based on his (Roethlisberger’s) flawed judgement and behavior. If you average Roethlisberger’s 8 year, $102 million salary by a 17-week regular season, Roethlisberger will lose $4.5 million in salary due to this suspension. The suspension could be reduced based on various criteria, including Roethlisberger attending and complying with counseling sessions.
This suspension all but ends any trade talks. It’s common sense, really. If there weren’t many teams interested in trading for Roethlisberger before, why would they want him now when he can’t play for the first four games of the season?
This isn’t surprising. The NFL’s personal conduct policy gives Goodell the right to suspend a player without the proof of conviction. Goodell has set a precedent for zero tolerance. Roethlisberger has shown he has flawed judgement on more than one occasion. The story now is how will this affect the Steelers. For a team that missed the playoffs the year after they won the Super Bowl, they cannot afford to give away any games. They’ve lost their starting WR (Santonio Holmes), their back-up RB (Willie Parker), and now they’ve lost their franchise QB for the first six games of the season.
The Steelers open the 2010 season like this: vs. Atlanta, @ Tennessee, @ Tampa Bay, and vs. Baltimore. They could easily lose two of those games with Roethlisberger. Without him, they could obviously lose more. After week four, the Steelers have their bye week (week 5) and then in week 6 they host Cleveland. Clearly, that first four weeks will be crucial to the Steelers’ season.
Dennis Dixon is the back-up QB for the Steelers, and he’s a back-up for a reason. However, he’s good enough to get on a roll early in the season and make plays himself to help win games. If he does get on a roll, do you sit him when Roethlisberger is eligible to play again? If I was Mike Tomlin, I’d play Dixon until he starts to play poorly. Why mess with something that works? Besides, you hammer home the message to Roethlisberger that you are NOT above the team.
Do I think the length of the suspension is appropriate? Yes. Technically, he hasn’t been convicted, but the details of what has went on over the past two years shows something substantial needed to be done to reprimand Roethlisberger for his behavior. Holmes was suspended four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Roethlisberger has violated the league’s personal conduct policy, which affects more than just himself.
Lastly, this will not affect who the Steelers draft this year. They knew Roethlisberger would be suspended, so they’ve been planning for this.
Thanks for reading.