If Le’Veon Bell doesn’t sign long-term deal, when will he show up?

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It would be regarded as a surprise at this point if the Steelers and running back Le’Veon Bell negotiate a long-term contract before Monday’s deadline for signing franchise-tagged players to long-term deals. So what happens if there’s no deal done?

Bell hasn’t signed his $12.1 million franchise tender. So he’s not under contract. Which means he has no obligation to show up for training camp or the preseason. By rule, he can wait until just a matter of days before the start of the regular season to report, sign, and still receive the full $12.1 million.

By all appearances, Bell has recovered from offseason groin surgery. So there’s no reason for him not to show up. Other than to exert leverage over the team.

But with no chance for a multi-year deal after Monday, there’s really not much leverage to exert. Bell could, in theory, squeeze the Steelers to pay him more than $12.1 million for one year. He also could persuade them to commit to not use the franchise or transition tag on him again in 2018.

The former would be unprecedented; the latter has occurred from time to time. And if the Steelers are resisting the standard formula for turning a franchise tag into a long-term deal by saying they don’t want to guarantee his $12.1 million salary plus a 20-percent raise under the tag for 2018 by saying they don’t plan to tag him again, it’s not unreasonable for Bell to ask the team to reduce that to writing.

The only leverage the Steelers have is the power to remove the franchise tag and make Bell a free agent at a time when he’d be hard pressed to find the kind of money he wants and the right fit on the open market. There’s no reason to believe they would, but there was no reason to believe the Panthers would remove Josh Norman’s franchise tender last April.

43 responses to “If Le’Veon Bell doesn’t sign long-term deal, when will he show up?

  1. as a Bengals fan I really hope they do sign him to a long term, very expensive deal. I love seeing Steeler money being thrown away.

  2. Groin surgery? Is this the same groin that didn’t appear on the Injury Reort before the AFCCG because Trip claimed it “wasn’t significant”? And then after the loss used it as a significant excuse and claimed Bell had been “doing a great job of managing it” in “the journey that is the season…in an effort to stay on the grass.”

    That was Trip’s 3rd obvious unpenalized violation since the infamous trip itself – the others being falsely claiming the Pats messed his headset and falsely claiming the Pats broke rules with what is actually a legal goal-line shift (that the Steelers also employed that season). Oh wait, those 3 Integrity Rules violations were all against the Pats – you don’t think there’s a pattern do you? Call him “Free Trip” from now on!

  3. If he were going to hold out, wouldn’t it be better to try to force a trade? Not sure who has the room or willing to give up players for him, but someone would I’m sure. Options:

    1) holdout and not get payed or play
    2) sign and only have a 1 year deal for an injury prone player
    3) tell Pitt if he signs the tender he will never sign a long term deal and so they should trade him.

  4. You don’t break the bank for ANY RB in today’s NFL. You just don’t. If he’s going to be a problem, you let him walk.

  5. Long term deals for RB’s is a thing of the past isn’t it? Who was the last one to get one?

  6. “as a Bengals fan I really hope they do sign him to a long term, very expensive deal. I love seeing Steeler money being thrown away.”

    Yeah, giving money to probably the 2nd best player in the league under the age of 25 (after OBJ) would be dumb.

    The Steelers should be smart and keep all their money in their pockets while all-pro talents walk away, like the Bengals do. They don’t really need Whitworth and Zeitler.

  7. If legal, pay him a bonus to sign tag. Then, he can buy injury protection and still be very well paid. He should, as there is no other RB on his level. That might include a lot of HOF members too.

  8. stew48 says:
    Jul 14, 2017 9:38 AM
    If legal, pay him a bonus to sign tag. Then, he can buy injury protection and still be very well paid. He should, as there is no other RB on his level. That might include a lot of HOF members too.

    —————

    Check out his postseason #s…… “A lot of HOF members” would disagree with you….

  9. LeVeon Bell is a very talented RB but it’s obvious he’s the type of player the Steelers don’t want on their roster.
    They will part with him much sooner than anyone thinks because of his off the field stuff and his attitude.
    Bell would be far better suited to play for the Cowboys or Seahawks, teams with much lower standards than the Steelers.
    It’s a shame, because he is one of the best RB’s in the NFL. But there’s no getting around he has a screw or two loose.

  10. nhpats says:
    Jul 14, 2017 9:42 AM
    stew48 says:
    Jul 14, 2017 9:38 AM
    If legal, pay him a bonus to sign tag. Then, he can buy injury protection and still be very well paid. He should, as there is no other RB on his level. That might include a lot of HOF members too.

    —————

    Check out his postseason #s…… “A lot of HOF members” would disagree with you….

    1 0
    Report comment

    Would to know who the HOF’s you spoke to about this…..oh wait you a Pat’s troll…they know everything.

    I think Le Veronica best be careful pushing the Steelers too hard….that dog may bite.

    And for the mental midget Tylawspic6…. every year is a rebuilding year….just some are more than others….smarten up son.

  11. He doesn’t ever really show up. Drugs are too big of a deal for him. Plus he’s made of glass and is regularly injured…not that I buy it…he’s just collecting a paycheck and being lazy.

    >

  12. Yeah, giving money to probably the 2nd best player in the league under the age of 25 (after OBJ) would be dumb.

    The Steelers should be smart and keep all their money in their pockets while all-pro talents walk away, like the Bengals do. They don’t really need Whitworth and Zeitler.

    3 8
    Report comment

    —-

    umm, neither beckham nor this turd are ranked
    1 and 2 in the league

    immature cancers cannot be ranked 1 and
    in the league unless you are happy with mediocre or
    under-achieving teams they play on

  13. It was a mistake to franchise him. 12.1 mil for one year is ridiculous for a RB. That also means that any contract will start with 12 mil guaranteed.

    12.1 mil split over 3 years is actually a really good RB contract in today’s NFL.

    Steelers messed up.

  14. It would be in both the team and Bell’s bests interest to work out a long term deal now. Pitt can sit there and act like his skills are replaceable but I’ve never seen a runner with such a unique style and patience, it works so well with their blocking concepts. Pitt is doing him wrong trying to string him along with only a one year guarantee but he hasn’t done himself any favors with his bonehead behavior. Their logic is to coax the best season out of him so he then can cash in. Bell wants his money now. Normally he wouldn’t have a leg to stand on but with Ben showing his cards about not wanting to play much longer the window to win really shrunk and Bell knows it. If I were him, I’d sit until opening day if I was that serious about getting paid now, why do the team any favors? It’s not like they are looking out for him. If they were dumb enough to pull the tag from him, there would be 25 teams lining up to sign him.

  15. …there is no other RB on his level.
    ____________________________________

    He probably enjoyed watching Devonta Freeman from his living room sofa.

  16. Your name says a lot, losing. Setting aside off-field problems for the moment, I can say he is the best RB of my viewing years, which started in 1954. “listening years” started in 1943, so, while I claim no expert tag as others do, my experience is greater than probably all of you. Have had season tickets in Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Cincy. Been to a SB. It is highly unlikely any of you can match that, but keep your opinions flowing; it makes good reading.

  17. stew48 says:
    Jul 14, 2017 10:02 AM
    nhpats

    Good point, so where does that put Ben? At least second or third best QB of recent years?

    ————–

    I personally like Ben as a player. He started out really strong but appears to have slowed down over time. I do wonder if he has gained too much weight. But he is certainly always a threat and a strong competitor. Ben is not the problem on the Steelers…..Tomlin is. I just do not believer he is a very good coach.

  18. I think bell is the best back in the NFL and has hof level talent. That being said, I wouldn’t sign him long term. I wouldn’t sign any back long term. Or for a lot of money. You can get the same production for less out of your running game without having an insanely high paid back on the roster.

  19. As a Steelers fan, I obviously would love to see Bell remain with the Steelers. But, I would not break the bank to sign him. So far, he has not proven that he can stay on the field, not only from an injury standpoint, but also from a suspension standpoint. He is a mega-talent, but that is only part of the equation to being a HOF type player, and good teammate.

  20. Le’Veon Bell might be wise to sign his very lucrative tender, report to camp, and have the best season he possibly can to help the Steelers go as far as they can in the coming season.
    I doubt that he wants to do further harm to a reputation that has been damaged due to suspensions and injuries at the most inopportune times, and a growing perception that he cares more about his contract than he does helping the team win.
    It would seem to me that if Le’Veon Bell just reports to camp, and does his best all season, that his next contract will more than likely take care of itself.

  21. Running backs don’t have long careers anyways, so I’m all for him getting paid. Most likely it will be his only significant deal despite his talent. Pay the man.

  22. ———————————————————
    If I were him, I’d sit until opening day if I was that serious about getting paid now, why do the team any favors? It’s not like they are looking out for him. If they were dumb enough to pull the tag from him, there would be 25 teams lining up to sign him.
    ———————————————————-

    Flawed logic here when, historically speaking, holdouts are more likely to suffer injuries. So it could end negatively, have a bad season or get injured and the next contract will only shrink from that $12 mil that he’s already being overpaid. He’s a great player, but NO rb is worth that in todays NFL. His wr abilities help but still a NO. He has injury and suspension history which hurts the overall. Steelers will not franchise him again. They know a RB isn’t worth that money.

  23. “Bell wants his money now.”

    12 mil for a RB in today’s nfl for 1 year isn’t “getting his money now”?

    Most of the top tier RBs seem to be getting no more than 5-6 mil a year and many less than that

  24. I also agree with some of the other comments, that having an extremely high-paid RB on your roster is usually not the best way to proceed.
    RB’s generally give and take more hits than any other player on the field, often to and from multiple other players at a time, that are often bigger than they are. This of course tends to shorten the truly effective part of their career.
    It seems like the best use of the RB position on an NFL roster is to not necessarily to have one mega-bucks feature back, but to have 2-3 good, solid all-round backs to play in situations, and share the load.

  25. Those saying the Steelers hold no leverage are wrong. They control Bell for two more season period. If he asking for more or even near what either of those numbers are the Steelers are smarter to just franchise him both years. That’s two one year deal for a RB that gets a lot of touches. Trust me no player wants that. This is the same organization that said “Franco who?” When he wanted more money and refused to talk to Ward until he got to camp. Come on now you really think they are going to fold to Bells demands.

  26. Does it really matter? He wont be in the league in 3 more seasons– it will start with like an ankle that never 100% heels, to getting released, to signing with the ravens, to playing half a season and going on IR, to retiring, to telling Clinton Portis not to overreact on the phone..

  27. nhpats says:
    Jul 14, 2017 9:32 AM
    Actually he can hold out until week 12 and still get credit for a full NFL season

    Given the injury history, I wouldn’t test the slim window to play 6 games for a full season of credit.

    tylawspick6 says:
    Jul 14, 2017 9:18 AM
    steelers will teeter in cap hell if he signs

    Nice try buddy but the Steelers are in fairly good spot with the cap. Yes Ben will retire soon, at that time a big time running game will be needed.

    peytonwantsaflag says:
    Jul 14, 2017 9:11 AM
    as a Bengals fan I really hope they do sign him to a long term, very expensive deal. I love seeing Steeler money being thrown away.

    A for effort, F for lack of substance. Steelers know what it takes to win in the regular season, to win in the playoffs, and how to bring home titles. The Bengals know how to win in the regular season at times…not in the playoffs. Steelers have more playoff wins since 2004 than the Bengals do since joining the NFL.

  28. Those of you saying don’t pay him, he’s just an RB and the game’s changed, you obviously haven’t watched Bell play. He’s one of those rare, versatile, game-changers who makes everyone else around him better.

  29. While Bell is the premier RB in the league right now due to his versatility, he still has his off field issues and is injury prone. Would love to have him, but he’s expendable.

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