Steelers, Le’Veon Bell enter 48-hour home stretch

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They say the NFL is a deadline-driven business. One of the most consequential deadlines in recent years arrives in roughly 48 hours.

If the Steelers and running back Le'Veon Bell fail to agree to terms on a long-term deal by Monday at 4:00 p.m. ET, the veteran tailback almost certainly will become an unrestricted free agent in eight months.

Absent a multi-year contract, Bell (who currently is unsigned) can sign only a one-year deal through the end of the regular season. By then, Bell likely will be inclined to let it ride, forcing the Steelers to choose between tagging him a third time (and paying him the quarterback franchise tender of roughly $25 million for 2019) or finally letting the open market determine his value.

There have been accounts and reports of progress, but at this point the Steelers either will make him an offer he can’t refuse or make him an offer he does refuse, content in the knowledge that he’ll make $14.52 million this year to go with last year’s $12.1 million salary before getting whatever he can in free agency. The challenge continues to be placing a value on a long-term deal with $14.52 million as the clear starting point for 2018 and nothing at all being clear after that.

The Steelers could take the position that they’ll use the transition tender next year, giving them a right to match any offer sheet Bell signs in exchange for a 20-percent increase over this year’s tender ($17.42 million). That would make the two-year value nearly $32 million.

But with the Steelers having their own set of rules regarding player contracts — including most importantly in Bell’s case no fully-guaranteed payments beyond the current year — it may not be easy to ensure Bell that he’ll get at least $32 million if he signs a long-term deal. Even then, it may take more than that to get him to give up his shot at whatever some other team may be willing to pay in order to not only help win games but also assist with ticket sales and the generation of buzz.

Ultimately, Bell needs to ask himself this question: What will it take to get me to trade in $14.52 million in hand plus a chance to strike it as rich as possible in March? If the Steelers aren’t willing to make that kind of an offer within the next 48 hours, the clock then will start ticking toward his potential exit from Pittsburgh.

55 responses to “Steelers, Le’Veon Bell enter 48-hour home stretch

  1. Running backs get screwed harder than any other position in football I think. There’s no chance they get paid what their yearly value is and in exchange they get yesr to year contracts. Amazing how much the NFL has changed in that front since the 90s.

  2. All he need do is consider the career of DeMarco Murray. The Steelers too. It took a few years before the Cowboys recovered. And certainly Murray got paid big money. But. No career.

    Who is going to pay Bell more than the Steelers? Will it be a top franchise like the Patriots or the Falcons? Or… One of the pwrrenial hopefuls, like the Jets, Miami or Redskins. Nd the Steelers have to know .. bell is one of a kind.

  3. “But with the Steelers having their own set of rules regarding player contracts — including most importantly in Bell’s case no fully-guaranteed payments beyond the current year ”

    If the Steelers aren’t willing to guarantee any money in future years, why would anyone sign anything more than a one year contract with them? That doesn’t make sense….

  4. Little pigs get fatter..Big pigs get slaughtered. Which one do you want to be Mr.Bell?

    I don’t see him having nearly the same success anywhere but Pittsburgh. Stop being greedy (and get slaughtered) and go be a very rich man in a town and team that loves you and can win you a ring and put you in the HOF. Or maybe the Steelers get fed up with you and move on from you and trade you to Cleveland or Buffalo.

  5. Steelers are too smart to meet his insane demands or tag him for a 3rd year. He’ll play out this season in Pittsburgh, get some bottom feeding team to overpay him next season, and won’t get the oline protection he has with the Steelers so he’ll never again have the success he had with the team that made him

  6. This seems like it has been going on forever. It’s obvious the Steelers aren’t going to pay him what he thinks he’s worth.

  7. Bell needs to just accept the reality of the situation:

    Teams don’t OVER-pay RBs anymore. Does he deserve to be overpayed? Sure.

    But RB’s are no longer the FOCAL point for teams. QBs, a stud WR or two, and at least one stud Guard and Tackle are the priority.

    Bell should take the deal they offer. It’s might not be the number his agent has filled his head with, but I’m sure it’s a fair deal.

  8. “That would make the two-year value nearly $32 million.” – It also makes it 3 years at roughly $44 million including last season, if it goes that way. He is getting paid his fair share at $14+ million a year & the Steelers know that (he should too). If they don’t offer a tag/transition, he still made $5 million more per year then the next top RB this year & last. That is why they are going to give him 400 touches again this year, just like last.
    Be the “Bell” cow for them, then they’ll let him out to pasture, chewing on a lucrative contract in Chargersville (or maybe Oakland/San Antonio/???wherever before Las Vegas).

  9. 1phillyphan says:
    July 14, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    Little pigs get fatter..Big pigs get slaughtered. Which one do you want to be Mr.Bell?

    I don’t see him having nearly the same success anywhere but Pittsburgh. Stop being greedy (and get slaughtered) and go be a very rich man in a town and team that loves you and can win you a ring and put you in the HOF. Or maybe the Steelers get fed up with you and move on from you and trade you to Cleveland or Buffalo.
    ————————

    All that sounds nice from a fan perspective, though some would see the “Big pig” as the owners.

    A lot of players, like Bell grew up poor, really really poor. Steelers made him rich, no evidence they are getting him a ring, and HOF says more about him than the team- see Barry Sanders. Pitt. needs him a lot- he’s more than just a running back.

    He certainly is rich now,but this ain’t high school, it’s his job,his body, and like a lot of people he wants to leverage for the most money in what amounts to a short career. Rich yes, he and his family will never have to worry about money again, but getting a big payday on another contract, with proper financial management can guarantee family wealth for 200 years. That’s a big incentive to people who grow up really poor.

    Or- who knows he could blow it all on the Rap albums he’s putting out!

    Great player for sure.

  10. Sounds like Bell has a lot of power in this negotiation. I say they tag him one more year and then let him hit the market. Steelers are very confident in their scouting & recruiting department.

  11. The max “great” years a rb has is maybe 6. After 6 years they are “good” until the 8th year then they are “average”. Then year 10 and on (which is rare they play that long) they are worth less.
    I will admit I THINK IMO that rb’s do get screwed signing their rookie deals. Come year 5 for a rb they are already in the career of declining NOT peeking.

    PS Bell is as Rogers is an Pill. Must be hard making 14 mil per every 6 months playing football having fun being famous being rich and still feeling disrespected. P O L E Z E !

    Yes football is a bizzness and the owners are getting smart playing hard ball! Bunch of ingrates!

  12. The clock started ticking 2 years ago. Would love to keep him but he’ll probably be a Jet in 2019. IMO his deserves just a tick below AB.

  13. I don’t blame him trying to get as much as possible. Running backs and linebackers have the shortest careers. His problem is all the young guys behind him in college chomping at the bit to get his job on the cheap. The owners have ALL the leverage.

  14. I’m just overwhelmed at the money some players demand. We, the fans, pay this money through high ticket prices &/or high prices we pay for products which are advertised on TV.

  15. I don’t want him long term; let him play of the tag and then we move on next year. Finding a good replacement at the running back position isn’t hard. We’ve done it before and we can do it again.

  16. Don’t settle for the Steelers disrespectful offer Le’Veon! Sit the season out then sign with a team that respects you next year! Spend this football season working on your rap career. Get your cake and eat it too Le’Veon!

  17. do what you gotta do leveon the “fans” are pro owner/team and don’t give a heck about “most” of the players

    will this comment get blocked?

  18. e certainly is rich now,but this ain’t high school, it’s his job,his body, and like a lot of people he wants to leverage for the most money in what amounts to a short career. Rich yes, he and his family will never have to worry about money again, but getting a big payday on another contract, with proper financial management can guarantee family wealth for 200 years. That’s a big incentive to people who grow up really poor.

    Or- who knows he could blow it all on the Rap albums he’s putting out!

    Great player for sure.

    Thanks Captain Obvious for wasting five seconds of my life while you try to act intelligent.

    Bell is already set for life but his ego is getting in the way. He is a great player, but he won’t get more from a better place than Pittsburg.

  19. Demarco Murray just announced his retirement after making a bad choice by leaving the Cowboys. I think we’ll be hearing the same thing about Bell in a few years. Either that or more suspensions.

  20. Running backs are a dime a dozen. Unless he’s the second coming of Emmitt Smith, he’s worth the money. He’s not, can’t stay healthy.

  21. Dez/ Bell/ OBJ = HEADACHES and ARE Replaceable! No need to break the bank on players like these!
    Owners > Players. It is a bizzness YES, and it is also A PRIVILEGE to play in the NFL!
    14 mil per every 6 months ISNT enough PPPFFFTTTT !!!

  22. His body, his job and if he can not determine his worth, who should? We all do jobs or take jobs based on if we are going to be well compensated. As arduous as some work is, most of us aren’t getting gobsmacked by moving beasts or running into a wall at 20mphs.

  23. But with the Steelers having their own set of rules regarding player contracts — including most importantly in Bell’s case no fully-guaranteed payments beyond the current year — it may not be easy to ensure Bell that he’ll get at least $32 million if he signs a long-term deal.
    ——
    If the Steelers don’t offer full guarantees beyond the current year it’s a wonder any player signs a long term deal with them. I thought the reason players signed long term deals was for the security of 2 or 3 years guaranteed payment.

  24. running backs are showing their worth now more than ever! LeVeon Bell is smart to decline any contract and hit the open market next year. When DeMarco Murray left, the Cowboys sucked, when zeke came they were good again. look at what Gurly is doing for the Rams, look at what Leonard fournette did for the Jaguars. A great running back can mask a lot of things, including a weak quarterback. Having a strong Run game is still one of the best ways to win an NFL game. there was a few years when the NFL had gotten pass happy and forgot about the run, but the last four to five years have shown running back still hold tremendous value especially a superstar one. There’s a reason why a running back was selected #2 overall this year. if I’m spending money going to a stadium, buying DirecTV, and buying players Jersey, I want the players to benefit from that. I don’t turn on the TV to watch the owner sit in the owners box with his personal assistants all around him.

  25. If players salaries overwhelm you, maybe you should look into the owners’ salaries that the players generate 100% of the revenue for. I swear some of you guys have zero understanding of economics. Must have went to Trump University.

  26. bondlake says:
    July 14, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    Bench him.
    *****************************

    Nah, For $14.5 million$, run him 40 times a game …..

    *** James Conner is only 23 and waiting his turn …

  27. Steelers should never give in to this pothead! Running backs have short careers and his better days are behind him. Probably out of football in 2-3 years,he’ll never get a long term contract with the Steelers.

  28. I’m with nflfan12blog on this one. He like most of us is trying to maximize his earning potential. That we measure our income in thousands, he measures it in millions. Our careers aren’t usually that short either.

    1phillyphan if you don’t like it, I suggest the next time you ask for a raise don’t. Because clearly maximizing your income is bad in your world. The next time you get a raise, give it back. Or just stop watching the game.

  29. Dude is one drug test away from being Josh Gordon. No one is going to pay him what he wants and this year on the franchise tag is the most he is ever going to make in a season.

  30. A great running back cannot lead his team to the Super Bowl and win it. He needs at least a good quarterback to do it. Walter Payton has only 1 super bowl ring, and his quarterback had a good season. Bell therefore is only good for the team as long as Big Ben still plays. If Big Ben retires and his successor is mediocre, Bell is not going to lead the Steelers to the Super Bowl. That may be why the Steelers are not willing to give him a lengthy contract. Him holding out is not going to change the Steelers’ minds.

  31. I’m all for NFL payers trying to get paid, especially running backs. However due to how offenses are designed today vs. the pre early 2000’s eras it’s insane to pay an RB more than $10MM in average annual salary. It’s unfortunate for RB’s that NFL offenses are designed the way they are and the punishment that their bodies endure, contributes to a short shelf like. Additionally, in Bell’s particular case, with him being 6’1′, he may have chosen the wrong sport to play!

  32. Go away already greedy rb. You got a good offer last year. Go get your money next year and cripple some other team.

  33. upyoursnfu says:
    July 14, 2018 at 4:59 pm
    Steelers dont want him anymore. They know he’s a cancer. Has been his entire career
    ________
    Why did they franchise Bell if they don’t want him. Seems a little strange to be handing someone you don’t want a $14 million contract. If that’s how the Steelers show they don’t want someone then sign me up!

  34. People forget that Le’Veon isn’t just a football player, he’s also a rapper aka Juice. He has options as an entertainer that other football players don’t have. He doesn’t live and die football nor is he 100% committed to football like other players without other options are, so the Steelers need to pay Le’Veon what he wants or he could walk away. The Steelers need to stop being cheap and pay the man. He’s one of the best all purpose rb’s in the NFL and should be paid a respectful amount like 4 years $100 mil. Don’t forget, he not just a football player, he’s an entertainer

  35. He’s the best RB in a league in which having the best RB doesn’t mean squat, doesn’t translate to winning and won’t even sniff you the SB.

    And yet the Steelers and their fans are salivating all over themselves trying to justify paying this guy 17 mil a year.

  36. tavisteelersfan says:
    July 14, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    Who is going to pay Bell more than the Steelers? Will it be a top franchise like the Patriots or the Falcons? Or… One of the pwrrenial hopefuls, like the Jets, Miami or Redskins. Nd the Steelers have to know .. bell is one of a kind.

    ———————-
    Lol, when you are talking about overpaying for any single player it will not be the Patriots. And if Pittsburgh ever wants a chance to compete with the Patriots it will not be them either, so they are doing the right thing staying firm here.

    And any ‘hopeful’ that gets sucked into that game will be throwing away their hope, not buying more.

  37. Bell got his best offer at this time last year…his agent said that BELL himself turned it down.
    I’m tired of this clown. He has had 1,200+ touches over the last 3 seasons and is about to hit a wall, harder than he thinks.
    If I were the Steelers, I’d tell him to play this season and then get the best deal that he can on the free agent market.
    He has several things working against him:
    1. He’s rapidly approaching 30.
    2. He has a suspension history, and is therefore a suspension risk.
    3. The quality of college RBs has increased over the last few years…and most of them have the same skillset as Bell and will come at a much cheaper price.

    I’m sure that his agent is telling him all of this, whether he listens or not is an entirely other story.

  38. If players salaries overwhelm you, maybe you should look into the owners’ salaries that the players generate 100% of the revenue for. I swear some of you guys have zero understanding of economics. Must have went to Trump University.
    ______________________________________________________________
    Really?
    NFL owners employ hundreds, if not thousands.
    Stop with the class warfare crap.
    NFL owners do not draw a salary, how could you not know that?
    NFL owners invest and allow their wealth to generate interest, which is what they use for their personal lives.
    If players want that kind of wealth, then they need to earn it or be the foundation for generational wealth for their family.
    No player, or person, for that matter is “entitled” to the salary or wealth of another person. I loathe people who play the class warfare game. If you want that level of wealth, then YOU find the ways and means with which to earn or acquire that wealth. People have different work ethics and skillsets. People who are lazy bums with zero drive to succeed have NO claim on the fruits of the labor/effort that is put forth by those who educate themselves to put themselves in a position to earn that much wealth.

  39. broncosroe says:
    July 14, 2018 at 7:45 pm
    If players salaries overwhelm you, maybe you should look into the owners’ salaries that the players generate 100% of the revenue for. I swear some of you guys have zero understanding of economics. Must have went to Trump University.

    ———-

    The owners take “salaries”? Wow….who knew….

  40. If the Steelers aren’t willing to guarantee any money past the current year, where’s the incentive for Bell to sign with them any longer than this year?

  41. dryzzt23 says:
    July 15, 2018 at 11:00 am

    He has several things working against him:
    1. He’s rapidly approaching 30.

    —————–

    He just finished his age 25 season. This coming season will be his age 26 season. So if by “rapidly approaching” you mean in 5 more seasons…

    Bell has certainly been high usage when healthy, but he’s not old. For comparison’s sake, he’s actually 10 months younger than David Johnson, the same age as Devonta Freeman, and 10 months older than Melvin Ingram.

  42. Here is the fact: Bell was a 3.9 yards per carry back in the NFL behind Top 5 line. Great pass protector, great hands. Still. 3.9 PER. Don’t do it Steelers.

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