The Pittsburgh Steelers were not able to work out a long term deal with their star running back Le'Veon Bell this offseason. He will play under the franchise tag for $12.1 million in 2017.
The deal in the making would reportedly pay Bell over $12 million a year. The total package has yet to be released to the public, but I'm going to predict he turned down approximately five year $70 million deal to bet on himself this season. But here's the kicker.
I'll show myself out for that terrible pun. Only the first year, or $12 of $70 million, would be guaranteed money. The Steelers aren't known for giving out big guarantees with their contracts. They give out huge signing bonuses, but their players need to earn the rest.
Bell pouted on Twitter, tweeting out a melancholy.
I guess I just gotta get better...-- Le'Veon Bell (@L_Bell26) July 17, 2017
He continued to talk through some of his feelings with ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. "The running back market definitely took a hit, and I can't be the guy who continues to let it take a hit," Bell said.
I think this is the first time Bell came up in the rotation and didn't want to take a hit.
Seriously though, let's take a look into the training camp history for Mr. Bell over here.
2013: bruised knee and foot injury, missed preseason and first three regular season games
2014: injures hamstring, misses some training camp
2015: Bell is arrested in August with teammate LeGarette Blount for DUI marijuana charges, suspended first 2 regular season games
2016: Bell violates NFL substance abuse policy once again and is suspended for the first 4 games of the season
2017: Bell will most likely hold out because he is not satisfied being the high paid running back in the NFL.
Over the last three seasons, Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant have only been on the field at the same time for 14 out of a possible 48 games due to a combination of suspensions and injuries.
The Steelers are totally behind Bell as their franchise running back for the long term, but it is safe to say that they have good reason to not sign him to a deal with big guaranteed money.
If you can believe it, this deal is about more than money. I am making the bold prediction that this hold out is the start of the biggest social movement since Kaepernick took a knee. Bell is standing up for the little guy... or at least, the Darren Sproles types.
Bell wants to set a new precedent for how running backs should get paid. "We do everything: We block, we run, we catch the ball. Our value isn't where it needs to be. I'm taking it upon myself to open up some eyes and show the position is more valuable," Bell said in reference to his position.
Here's the argument:
In terms of team value, Le'Veon Bell meant more to the Pittsburgh Steelers than Darrelle Revis did to the New York Jets or Demaryus Thomas did to the Denver Broncos. These players are all the highest paid at their position, but what is the difference?
Le'Veon Bell IS the Pittsburgh Steelers. The other players are simply cogs in the machine, but they still get paid $5-8 million more than Bell. When you talk about a player averaging 160 yards a game on a short season, you can't put enough zeros on his long term deal.
Bell led the Steelers in rushing with 1268 yard over 12 games.
Who led receiving?
It was number one receiver Antonio Brown of course with 106 receptions for 1284 yards.
But who was second in receiving?
That's right. While only playing 12 games, Bell still came in second out of all receivers on the Steelers with 616 yards.