News broke yesterday that Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers didn’t reach an agreement on a contract extension. To put it simply, this means Bell will be playing the 2017 season under the franchise tag, and will earn roughly $12.1 million (which happens to be over $4 million more than the NFL’s next highest paid RB). In addition, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent if both sides neglect to come to terms of a new contract prior to March 2018.
It’s potentially a gigantic loss for the Steelers to watch a running back who’s averaged 128 all-purpose yards in his first four seasons as a pro walk away for nothing in return. So when news broke yesterday of the contract situation, Bell seemed to hint at the fact that the Steelers weren’t quite on the same page as him and his agents’ demands.
Were the Steelers trying to low ball Juice? Probably. But if NFL insider Tom Pelissero’s sources are accurate, not entirely.
So essentially the Steelers were trying to extend the contract Bell’s already due to make this season, plus give him guaranteed money in the form of a signing bonus. Obviously, the money in years 2-5 would not be guaranteed, so therein lies the problem. Bell thinks he’s worth x-amount of guaranteed money, while the Steelers do not.
To be perfectly honest, I have to side with the Steelers on this one. Don’t get me wrong, I believe Bell’s the best running back in the league. He can do it all in a league where most teams have adopted a running back by committee strategy. But here’s the problem – Bell needs to prove he can A. play the majority of a season without getting injured, and B. not get caught doing dumb shit like smoking weed. That’s it. It’s that simple. Take care of yourself and get paid a fuckton of money to play for a Super Bowl contender or be an idiot and find yourself on the Browns next year. Your choice, Le’Veon.