The rumor that the Steelers might be ready to trade Ben Roethlisberger is "totally, totally false", a source told CBS' Jason La Canfora. Last Sunday, the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that "Ben Roethlisberger is not happy. [He's] incredibly frustrated with the direction the franchise is headed."
Rapoport added that the Steelers might consider trading Roethlisberger if they could replace him with a "franchise quarterback" in the 2014 draft. (The Steelers reportedly had a scout in attendance for Tajh Boyd's game on Thursday night.)
La Canfora's source said there is "zero truth" to that idea. For his part, Roethlisberger denied repeatedly last week that he would seek out a trade.
"I want to stay. My family wants to stay. I want to finish my career here. I've always said that," Roethlisberger said Friday on WDVE-FM, via ESPN.com. "I hope that's very clear to everybody. When someone is a source and they're unnamed, they have an agenda, and that agenda is not winning football games and not helping this team. And whoever the agenda is coming from, they're not helping us. They're hurting us.
"There's no way it's coming from in the building because, if it is, they would come talk to me. I think my résumé speaks for itself on what I've done in the past -- winning championships and football games."
Roethlisberger is due to make $12.1 million in base salary next season and $11.6 million in 2015, the final year of his current contract. That's well below the top deals at his position -- AFC North rival Joe Flacco, for example, is averaging $20 million per year on his new contract. Roethlisberger also restructured his contract prior to this season to save the Steelers some cap space, taking his base salary from $10.6 million down to $2.6 million and converting the remainder to a prorated signing bonus.
Though the Steelers are just 3-6, Roethlisberger's on pace to post one of his best statistical seasons ever. He's currently on pace for 387 completions and 4,504 yards, both of which would be career highs. His QB rating of 87.6, though, is his lowest since 2008, which also happens to be the last season he played all 16 regular-season games.
The Steelers did draft Oklahoma's Landry Jones with the No. 115 pick last draft, but there's been no indication yet that the franchise is grooming him to be Roethlisberger's eventual replacement.
Since the trade deadline has passed, any deal of Roethlisberger would have to wait until after the season concludes. But Big Ben said after his team's win over Buffalo last Sunday that any such rumors were "completely unacceptable.
"[This is] one of the most B.S. stories I've ever heard."