At a time when it already was looking less and less likely that running back Le'Veon Bell would report to the Steelers before Tuesday’s 4:00 p.m. ET deadline, there’s now a report that acknowledges that reality.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that it is “unlikely” that Bell will sign his franchise tender and play in 2018.
Yes, it’s unlikely. Which technically means that the chances of it happening are less than 50 percent. Which given the recent realization that Bell can skip the whole year and still force his way to free agency in March 2019, is fairly obvious at this point.
Indeed, and as explained on Friday, Bell’s best play at this point is to not play this year. With $8.5 million already gone, only $6 million or so left to be earned this year, and a major payday looming, it’s a no-brainer.
So either Schefter is simply reading the tea leaves that currently are arranged to say in all caps “HE’S NOT SHOWING,” or sources close to Bell have opted for “unlikely” instead of “not at all” to account for the possibility that Bell will choose to show up, even if it makes no financial sense at this point to report.
And if the latter is that case, don’t be surprised if something that currently has less than a 50 percent chance of happening actually does happen.