Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell currently doesn’t have a contract. Which means that he can’t, absent a rarely-used (by veteran players) letter of protection, participate in offseason workouts.
That hasn’t stopped quarterback Ben Roethlisberger from publicly lamenting Bell’s absence.
“I’m not worried about the chemistry, but I wish he’d be here just because he’s one of the pieces to our puzzle,” Roethlisberger told reporters, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I know he can’t participate because I don’t think he’s 100 percent healthy, but it would be nice to see him here just in terms of the chemistry and learning and being a part of this process. But obviously, it’s up to him.”
It’s not entirely up to him. The Steelers haven’t signed Bell to a long-term contract. So Bell currently has no contract, since he hasn’t signed his franchise tender, which will pay him $12.1 million in 2017.
As Bell tries to get a long-term deal, his only leverage comes from the withholding of services. Which is what he’s doing.
Which is why he may not fully appreciate getting pressure from a guy who has gotten paid, on multiple occasions, to give up that leverage and show up for offseason workouts.