The Pittsburgh Steelers are playing a dangerous game of Russian Roulette, in my opinion. If there were ever a such thing as a $100 million running back, I would think Le’Veon Bell would fit the bill. I get that the running back position is a cautious one, especially when signing backs to big money contracts. The running back gets the ball more times per game than everyone on the team except for the QB. That volume of activity makes the RB’s chances of injury skyrocket. I get that. Totally. But when you consider what Le’Veon Bell brings to the table for the Steelers, you may want to reevaluate that kind of thinking. At least 75% of what’s successful for the Pittsburgh offense, is only successful because Le’veon Bell is on the field. He’s always a threat. Catching, running, or simply being a decoy. Defenses need to keep at least two pairs of eyes on the back at all times. This allows everything else to be possible, including the deep balls to Antonio Brown. The Steelers obviously don’t believe this, or they clearly don’t see the value in their superstar back.
ESPN (@espn) reports, the Steelers have informed Le’Veon Bell that they will place the franchise tag on him for the second straight season, since the team likely won’t come to an agreement on a new deal with the back before Tuesday’s deadline. The Steelers have come up from what they offered the back for a long term contract last year, but Bell says the sides are still far apart.
“We’re not coming to a number we both agree on. They are too low…..or I guess they feel I’m too high. I’m playing for strictly my value to the team. That’s what I’m asking. I don’t think I should settle for anything less than what I’m valued at.”
Last season Bell turned down a contract worth a total of $42 million over the first three years with an average of $13.3 million over the life of the deal. Bell says he will stick to the number he’s asking for, which he won’t reveal. Whatever Bell’s number is, he’s worth it. Hey Steelers, PAY THAT MAN. Back in January, Bell hinted at retirement being an option if his contract situation didn’t work out. I hope not. It will be bad for the Steelers and the NFL to have another great back retire before they reach their full potential. Remember when a guy named Barry Sanders was in this same position and decided that he would rather retire than allow Detroit to keep him somewhere he clearly didn’t want to be at? It would be a shame to see a great back like Bell retire because the Steelers are not willing to do the right thing.