TIOPS DAILY FIVE
*Rumblings, Musings, Opinion*
1. A main reason Ben Roethlisberger has received a second mega-deal with the Steelers organization and an opportunity to retire as a Steeler is because of how he’s changed off the field. Now married with two kids, Roethlisberger is no longer the person off the field he was earlier in his career. He’s changed for the better in a number of ways from being more responsible off the field to making an effort to become more well liked by his teammates.
After being a party animal in the Pittsburgh night scene and a second rape accusation in 2010, the Steelers came awfully close to moving on from Roethlisberger that off-season, discussing several trade scenarios with teams picking in the top-10 during the 2010 draft, including talks with the St. Louis Rams for the No. 1 pick so they could draft Sam Bradford, who Kevin Colbert loved coming out. Smartly, they gave Roethlisberger an opportunity to change and it’s paid off for all parties involved.
“It’s kind of hard to contain my smile when I’m excited to be at a place like this, to be home, and to be able to be here for my whole career,” said Roethlisberger during Friday’s press conference. “I know most of you have heard me say for a long time that this is where I have always wanted to be and where I have wanted to spend my whole career. This organization has given me an opportunity to do that. I just feel very blessed to have the opportunity to play for such a great franchise, with great coaches, great teammates, and the best fans in the world. I’m extremely happy that we got a deal done.”
2. Roethlisberger and Art Rooney both cited the 5 year contract as being a “fair deal” but there has been zero leaks on the financials of the deal. Some conspiracy theories from Mike Florio and others is that the deal won’t be looked at from the outside as a “fair deal”. However, prior to today’s announcement, Roethlisberger getting another $100 million contract was very important to the Roethlisberger camp, so expect the deal to be worth close to $100 million in total value which would come in around $20 million per season and the final numbers to reveal it was fair.
3. A key question around the Steelers now is how many more Lombardi trophies Roethlisberger will win. “First and foremost, our goal is to win Lombardi trophies,” Roethlisberger said. “I’m excited to be able to really put the pedal to the metal. I think we have a good, young football team that has a lot of talent and a lot of ability. Walking down the hall, I asked if there was room in that trophy display for more trophies, because that has to be our ultimate goal. I trust that Coach (Mike) Tomlin and the organization will put the best team on the football field, and we are going to give it everything we have.”
The Steelers have put a good enough offense around Roethlisberger to contend for the next 3-4 years seasons with a young star running back in Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown just 26 years old and already one of the best wideouts in the game, and a young stable offensive line. Unlike earlier in his career, though, Roethlisberger doesn’t have a great defense around him and currently not even a good one and as free agency has showed, the Steelers aren’t changing their ways to go acquire immediate help in free agency, even with their window of having Roethlisberger perform at an elite level, likely just 3-4 years.
4. Steve Downie has 12 goals this season in 59 games, providing the type of bottom-6 scoring the Penguins lacked last season. However, his undisciplined play to take penalties at inopportune times is making Mike Johnston lose his patience with Downie and the fear of Downie losing a playoff game or series for the Penguins concerns the team.
5. The San Jose Sharks/Joe Thornton situation has been bizarre since the summer and it went a step further today when GM Doug Wilson again called out Thornton’s leadership qualities saying the pressure and stress of being the captain caused Jumbo Joe to freak out on players. Thornton fired right back and good for him.
“I think Doug just needs to shut his mouth,” Thornton said via the Mercury News. “I think that’s the bottom line. All I’ve got to say is I’ve been here every day working hard. I haven’t taken a sabbatical. He just needs to stop lying, shut his mouth.”
What GM whose team is in the middle of a playoff race makes it a point to go out and criticize one of the organizations most prominent players once again? Murray is trying to do everything he can to get Thornton to waive his no trade clause this summer but the more likely scenario is Thornton staying and Murray getting the boot.
— The TIOPS Daily Five returns Monday —