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NFL analyst: Big Ben would make Arizona Cardinals ‘instant contenders’

LISTEN: Ian Rapoport, NFL Network

Rumors persist that Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers might be traded following this season, and one of the teams linked to the quarterback is the Arizona Cardinals.

While “Big Ben” has denied many of the claims suggesting he’s asked for a move,’s Ian Rapoport said that may not be entirely true and the Steelers are at least thinking about possible deals.

“Some Steelers sources believe he may ask them to explore trade options at the end of the season, because of the current situation, and also his contract situation looming over him,” Rapoport told Arizona Sports 620’s Dan Bickley with Vince Marotta Friday.

Roethlisberger signed an eight-year, $108 million contract that runs through the 2015 season. Between his deal and the contracts of other veterans like Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark, the Steelers have a lot of money committed to aging players, and a rebuilding process might be facing the team shortly.

Rapoport added he’s also a bit shocked at how strongly Roethlisberger has denied accusations of a trade request, but also pointed out some things the two-time Super Bowl champ hasn’t said.

“He’s denied some parts,” Rapoport explained. “He hasn’t said he hasn’t asked to be traded. He has said, ‘I don’t want to ask to be traded. We don’t want a trade.’ It’s a little different. Nuanced, but different.”

If Roethlisberger were to be traded, which the player has stated would require an extraordinary circumstance, Rapoport sees Arizona as great fit due to his relationship with head coach Bruce Arians.

“To play with really one of his close friends, Bruce Arians, a guy where’s he had the most success and is familiar with the system,” Rapoport said. “To me, that’d be a perfect situation for all parties.

“They’d become instant contenders.”