It’s a tradition unlike any other.
First, the deadline passes for doing a long-term deal between the Steelers and running back Le'Veon Bell. Next, the Steelers leak the value of the deal on which Bell passed. Along the way, the Steelers conceal the kind of details that would permit the deal to be properly evaluated.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the Steelers offered Bell a five-year, $70 million deal. The contract reportedly would have paid out “more than $30 million over two years.”
That doesn’t reveal nearly enough. What was the signing bonus? How much was fully guaranteed at signing? How were the final three years structured? The $14 million annual average means nothing without knowing the payout in year one and the average value through two, three, and four years.
Remember, Bell already has $14.5 million on the table for 2018. The Steelers offered another $55.5 million in exchange for four more years, with no details whatsoever on how that would be paid, other than Bell getting “more than $30 million over two years.”
If the goal is to make Bell look greedy and unreasonable in the eyes of fans who believe he’d actually get $70 million, mission accomplished. But as it relates to any realistic effort to understand what was actually put on the table, it’s not nearly enough.