Le’Veon Bell makes rare decision to sit out the season

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The unlikely has now become reality. An NFL player will choose to sit out the entire season, in lieu of accepting the terms offered to him by the team that controls his rights.

That’s ultimately what the franchise tag is. It’s not an honor, as some have tried to describe it in the past. It’s an artificial restriction applied to a player who otherwise would be able to shop his services to the highest bidder. The Steelers twice exercised their right under the Collective Bargaining Agreement to restrict Bell in this way. And Bell has twice exercised his right in response to being subjected to the franchise tag.

Last year, he stayed away until Labor Day, skipping the offseason program, training camp, and the preseason and cashing every check on his way to $12.1 million. This year, he skipped everything, including the full football season. Now, when next year comes, he’ll finally get a chance to shop his services to the highest bidder.

Bell will be blamed for this outcome. By fans, by teammates, by executives, by the media. But Bell is simply making a business decision, no different than the decision to enter the draft, to not enter the draft, to sign with a team, to not sign with a team, to keep playing, to retire. The fact that it’s an unconventional business decision doesn’t change the fact that it is fundamentally a business decision.

And, when it comes to football, everyone seems to be allowed to make business decisions except the men who play football. Because we want them to entertain us. When they choose not to entertain us, we become confused. We feel betrayed. We lose the privilege of witnessing the special things a football player can do on a football field, as it relates to our fan loyalties, our viewing enjoyment, our fantasy-football lineups, our wagering interests.

Bell will be accused of “abandoning his teammates,” an outdated narrative as phony as “football is family.” Football, at the professional level, is only family when characterizing it that way is good for business. Because football, at the professional and college level, is strictly a business.

Everyone else connected to the sport will make, from time to time, business decisions. But the only ones who are widely vilified for any decision (short of an owner relocating a team, which nevertheless seems to be understood in all markets but the one the team leaves) are players who make the business decision to not play.

In Bell’s case, the Steelers opted to prevent him from getting maximum compensation for his services by squatting on his rights beyond the expiration of his contract. Twice. So he did what he had to do in an effort to get the most he could for his skills, abilities, risks, and sacrifices.

Regardless of whether future events make it a good decision or a bad decision, it’s his business decision. And how he handles it is nobody else’s business.

173 responses to “Le’Veon Bell makes rare decision to sit out the season

  1. He found the loop hole good for him because next year he’s about ta gets pizzzzzzzzzzzzaaaaaaaaad !

  2. “Bell will be blamed for this outcome.”
    ===========================================

    Um, what??

    Pittsburgh and James Conner are both estatic that Bell has chosen to stay away. Steelers just saved $14.5m and Conner is having a breakout year and securing a long-term contract for himself. The offense is firing on all cylinders and don’t need Bell to muck things up.

    NO ONE is blaming Bell. All is good.

  3. Lets see how it works out for him. It may it may not but I still have a right to think he’s dumb to not accept a reasonable long-term deal he was supposedly offered of over 12 mil a year. There is more than money involved here. He does have teammates he should be accountable to but let’s see if he gets his big payday. Its not like they offered him a measly 10 mil. I mean how could you live on that……

  4. “The unlikely has now become reality. An NFL player will choose to sit out the entire season”
    ============================

    Been done before. John Riggins sat out 1983 over $300,000. Took Gibbs to talk him back into playing.

  5. All Bell can do now is hope that a team will offer him more money than they Steelers did this past off-season. Insult to injury will be signing with a garbage team for similar money as the Steelers offered. Even worse will be if the Steelers win a Super Bowl this year without him.

  6. I totally agree. People criticizing bell’s decision need to realize it is ultimately his own money he is potentially sacraficing. In another profession, no one would bat an eye at an employee doing what he believes is best for him and his family. It will be interesting to see which team he ends up with next year. My guess is and nfc east team like washington or philly. I’m also curious to see whether his next contract comes close to making up all the money he lost this year. Having said all that, I still believe he deserves to be drawn and quartered for smoking drugs that one time.

  7. Question: Bell was offered a contract under the agreed upon CBA second year franchise “Tag”. Bell never signed the offer. It was never agreed upon. How does that count within the guidelines of the tag rules? It seems that a good lawyer could argue that the Steelers still have a second year tag.

  8. Thanks for the perspective. I, like most viewed his holdout from a selfish point of view. I think he may have priced himself out of the market, but we will see if gets the numbers he wants. I am certain, he his happy to leave Pittsburgh, as that relationship is done.

    The shelf-life is short for a RB and an injury changes everything. We’ll see who’ll spend big for a weapon like him. He may end up taking a pay cut, everything is now on the table.

  9. No one is upset that he did this. It’s just hard to understand how this “business decision” makes any sense. He’s not going to recoup the almost $15 million he left on the table. We question the intelligence of it … not his right to not play football.

  10. This has all backfired. What other NFL team is going to trust him after this. He should fire his agent. The Steelers got 95 percent of Bell’s Output at 3 percent of his salary with Conner.

  11. Thanks Florio, for being as cynical as ever. What a comfort that must be to all the Steeler fans who bought his jersey or season tickets expecting to see him play. You can’t take the emotions out for the fans, but keep trying

  12. Interesting reading

    I would have preferred the 14.5 in hand but, that too, would been a business decision, maybe backfiring due to my week 5 season ending injury

    The coin and its two sides. He has balls.

  13. “Regardless of whether future events make it a good decision or a bad decision, it’s his business decision. And how he handles it is nobody else’s business.”
    ====================================

    Yet we can all still laugh at his poor business acumen. He “gave up” $14.5m to show us that James Conner (at $800k) is duplicating his success behind the Steelers O-line.

    We can also laugh at his dumb logic that by not playing this year, he saves his legs for another season. Sorry, that’s not how the body works – aging doesn’t stop like that.

    As for “it’s nobody else’s business”, it’s not like we’re advising Bell. It’s football fans playing GM and discussing the topic, so stop making it sound like we care about Bell. We only care about football.

  14. It’s part of the collective bargaining agreement as you stated. He could have another 14 million in his pocket, and then cashed in on what he thought he was really worth after the end of the season, he chose not to. Good luck finding a team that will step up and pay him more because James Conner’s production might just make some teams think he was a product of the system…

  15. “Bell never signed the offer. It was never agreed upon. How does that count within the guidelines of the tag rules?”
    ——————————–
    By placing the franchise tag on Bell, the Steelers prevented him from participating in free agency. So, while he didn’t play under the second franchise tag, he was effected by it.

  16. I can’t wait to see how “great” Le’Veon Bell is with the Bills or Raiders’ o-line in front of him. Conner is a great talent, no doubt. But the way the Steelers’ o-line is playing recently, Colbert could give Willie Parker a call and he’d put up Pro Bowl numbers.

  17. This spin is a little disingenuous. The Steelers twice offered Bell contracts that would have made him the highest paid RB in the league. The Steelers only “squatted” on his rights (as is their business, btw) because he chose not to sign the long-term contracts placed in front of him. I understand the position he has regarding guaranteed money, but if you make the Steelers the outright villain in this story then you’re also completely dismissing Bell’s role in getting himself hit with the franchise tag. Both sides equally contributed to this whole debacle.

  18. “In Bell’s case, the Steelers opted to prevent him from getting maximum compensation for his services by squatting on his rights beyond the expiration of his contract.”
    ==============================

    The NFLPA negotiated the CBA that gave the team the option. Don’t blame the team for using it. If Bell has a problem, talk to his union and NEGOTIATE it away. You know, like a BUSINESS DECISION that you say it is.

  19. No, owners, coaches and GM’s a vilified every day for their business decisions too Mike. You expect fans should worship the players and accept everything they do without criticism. Fans are invested too and have the right to criticize decisions players make too. Stop trying to control speech.

  20. “Everyone else connected to the sport will make, from time to time, business decisions. But the only ones who are widely vilified for any decision (short of an owner relocating a team, which nevertheless seems to be understood in all markets but the one the team leaves) are players who make the business decision to not play.”

    _____________________________________________________________

    This is nonsense. Ownership and management get flack all the time for “business decisions”. How much grief did Oakland get for not giving Khalil Mack what he wanted and instead trading him? Their rationalization being not wanting to devote such a high share of the cap to Carr and Mack. Business decision. How about when a popular player walks? Here in Philly, Eagles management/ownership caught a MASSIVE amount of flak years ago when Brian Dawkins was allowed to walk and finish his HOF career in Denver. Business decision.

  21. He held the Steelers up for ransom and it backfired. He played games with the fans, team mates as well as the Steeler organization. His lame excuse of getting hurt and taking care of his family. He was a football player plays football where injury can come any time. H loses 14 million dollars, I’m sure his family feel much more taken care of. Lets all make him some kind of hero as if he got away with something.

  22. Yeah, we get it. It’s a business decision. But it isn’t a good business decision. He could have gotten $14.5 million to play one season of a game he supposedly loves to play, and then be free to shop his services to anybody next year. Instead, he didn’t play at all, gave up the $14.5 million, and will most likely get less money on the free agent market than he would have gotten had he played. He’s a year older, he proved his team didn’t need him, and he has $14.5 million less in his pocket than he would have had. I don’t see how he came out a winner here.

  23. I do not think anyone feels betrayed or confused. I think most people believe he made a poor monetary decision, but it is his to make. He won’t make $14.5 mil in a year anywhere, he is just looking for a larger signing bonus. Then caveat emptor.

  24. So it’s a “business decision”, let’s assume it is. With every business decision that is executed in the real world there is a fundamental plan to predict the “return on investment”. That plan predicts the return (i.e. expected windfall) in comparison to the risk being taken to execute it. In this case it’s a $14.5M risk. Please describe the “likely return” expected (i.e future contract details), along with the justifying rationale that makes it more likely than not, that the risk is worth taking.

  25. This better be the last guy we hear anything from after his careet if he winds up broke! Scoff at $14.75 million is nuts. Even if he got injured that with his other salary earnings is enough to never wk again and possibly his kids too.

  26. I’m not confused or betrayed. Most of us are not. He made a business decision. Football is all about business decisions. Examples would be which WR to sign, which player to trade away, which position to draft, which coach to fire.

    We question all these business decisions without being confused or betrayed. Why not this one?

  27. This piece plainly says to all of us that Florio plans to be on the same set with Le’Veon for Pre and Post game shows. Yes, it’s a business but he simply wasn’t worth his price tag. Special talent….yes but his production from 2016-2017 dropped a yard per carry and reception. He didn’t have nearly as many explosive plays in 2017 either. He’s not washed up but he’s certainly not worthy of his asking price.

  28. I am just glad this is over. Bell is such a gifted athlete and his play as a Steeler was outstanding. Who could ever forget his huge TD to beat the Chargers on the last play of the game. I just again watched the playoff game against the Chiefs from a couple of years ago. The guy was an absolute beast and without him, the Chiefs would’ve won that game!!
    However, it’s imperative that the Steelers move on from Bell. He doesn’t want to be there and his price tag is WAy too high. I give the Steeler admin credit for not hamstringing the organization cap wise. In fact, they have freed up money to spend on their improving defence and BEST O line in the league.

  29. Dear fans, you are not allowed to make a decision to not like Bells decision. Your decision has been disallowed by this article. Get back in line.

  30. I don’t understand why people hate on Bell. The franchise tag is horsesht and good for him for sitting out. All he wanted was a long term contract and Pittsburgh wasn’t interested.

    That’s fine. Pittsburgh should have let him walk. Who reading this post doesn’t want to make the most money they can possibly earn? Pittsburgh wouldn’t let him walk and wouldn’t give a long term contract that he thought was fair. That’s Bell’s fault?

    If he makes more or less next season is not the point. The point is that his employer wouldn’t let him have that right after his contract expired.

    The franchise tag is bs and not a way to retain players while being able to work out an extension as it’s currently told. It’s a way to retain players and not pay them long term. It’s a player option for the team.

    The franchise tag really should be let go.

  31. what Bell is doing is his right under the CBA. What the Steelers did is their right under the CBA. Players my not like the current CBA, but they are the ones who agreed to it. Remember when the Steelers were the only team who didn’t sign the CBA? Remember when Jeff Saturday, was gushing about how instrumental Robert Kraft was in getting the CBA signed? Does any player honestly think the owners who were instrumental in getting the CBA were doing what was best for the players? Most of the fans in PGH aren’t upset that Bell is using his rights under the CBA to sit out the entire year, they are pissed because he said he would report by the first game. They are pissed because he didn’t just man up and be honest with his teammates, the coaching staff, the owners, the GM, and al of the fans in PGH and held them hostage to his maybe I will report by week 1, maybe by week 2, etc. I remember when Brett Favre couldn’t decide if he wanted to keep playing or retire, the media crucified him over the back and forth.

    For those who think Bell did this as a sacrifice for future franchise players, the dude and his agent admitted even they didn’t know of the vaguely worded clause that would allow him to sit out the whole year and get credit for it.

    No one will know if this helped Bell or hurts him, until his playing days are over. If this adds another year to his playing days, and he gets paid big for it, (probably wont, most older RB’s get league minimum when they are over 30)

    He may have inadvertently helped the team. The O line seems to be making a statement every game with their blocking, letting bell know it was 60% them, and 40% Bell. Conner is running with a purpose, and the teams gets 14 million next year. Wish he had showed up, would have been nice to see what the team could have done with them both on the field.

    It probably wont happen, but the Steelers can still transition tag him next year.

  32. It takes the average person about 20 years to earn $1 Million dollars in the US. Bell was looking at making what would take the average person 280 years to make in one season and he walked away from that…. disgusting

    It’s the same as if someone won the lottery and decided to burn the ticket cause they’d rather play again for potentially more. It doesn’t make sense no matter who’s decision. Money in is always better than money out. This guy could straight up slip in the shower and never play football again.

  33. First of all, I get the fact that Bell wants to make as much money as he can. I don’t really have a problem with that. The franchise tag system was collectively bargained so if they think it’s so terrible why did they allow it. They can have it removed in the next CBA but the NFL owners will rightfully so ask for something in exchange. The players just can’t say they want everything and not grant concessions on anything. That’s not how bargaining works.

    As far as what Bell did, I think he may regret the way he handled this year. Like it or not, $14.55M is not chump change. He was willing to gamble on holding out so he can sign a big deal next year. Keep in mind, he said he thought he should be paid like a #1 RB AND a #1 WR. No team with any common sense is going to pay him like that. His $14.55M salary would have made him the highest paid RB in the league this year. Gurley’s contract was “only” for four years and $57.5M with $45M guaranteed. The difference is that Gurley is 24 and Bell will be 27. Also not helping Bell is being replaced with Conner who has put up similar numbers as Bell. One more thing, Bell was a second-round pick himself (#48) and his rookie contract was four years for a little over $4M. His tag last year more than tripled the value of his entire rookie contract.

    Is he talented? Absolutely. Teams just aren’t really willing to pony up big numbers for a RB unless they are a game-changer. Given how Conner has performed you have to wonder if it’s the system (and OL) in Pittsburgh rather than all on Bell. They haven’t really missed him this year which should make other teams think twice before giving him a huge contract. He’s likely going to want something similar to Gurley’s contract regarding guaranteed money. If he gets it then maybe this was worth it. If he doesn’t, then it’s going to be fair to say he miscalculated his worth. Nobody will know until next season.

  34. Good for him. I hope he never recovers what he has lost in income and has a career ending injury that makes his lack of an insurance policy a stone cold reminder that life sucks.

    You go, LaVerne LaBelle. You taught us all what a fool and an idiot you truly are.

    Now go make up that $14.5 million you just sent bye bye.

  35. Millions of biz decisions are made every day. Some good, many bad. Time will tell on this one, but $14.5 mil will never be recouped. Hard to think an owner will believe he is now worth $14.5 million more due to no wear, but I have made some bad decisions myself, so what do I know? Only takes one fool owner to overpay. Road is littered with overpaid players (mainly QBs).

  36. Bell bet on himself. Now we’ll find out if his gamble pays off. It certainly worked out well for James Conner.

  37. Didn’t the players agree to the Franchise tag in the CBA? If they don’t like it, they should fight to remove it. The team retains the player at a premium price. It’s not like these guys are tagged and being paid the vet minimum.

  38. Good business decision based on the overlooked fact by everyone in the media that he didn’t have to show up this season to be unrestricted next season. Once that “minor” detail was revealed, it became a no brainer for him. He’s still a horrible teammate for stringing the Pit organization along. The Jets will find out soon enough. Good riddance!

  39. If there ever was a time to squeeze Bell it’s now. Does anyone REALLY think he’s going to sit out ANOTHER year? If you’re an interested team you low ball him. He wants like $17m/yr… start with $10.5 then once the negotiations climb cap out at $12.5.

  40. gpclaw says:
    November 13, 2018 at 4:44 pm
    All Bell can do now is hope that a team will offer him more money than they Steelers did this past off-season. Insult to injury will be signing with a garbage team for similar money as the Steelers offered. Even worse will be if the Steelers win a Super Bowl this year without him.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Bell does not care about winning. For him it is about money and setting a president. He truly believes he is helping the rest of the players in the league by refusing to accept what he feels is a inadequate offer. I really think he believes he is a champion for the rest of the league and he is willing the sacrifice 14.5 million dollars to break the system.

    I’m not sure if I should cheer for him or laugh at him. Either way, I do respect his commitment and his decision to sit out the year be it in protest or to save the wear on his body.

  41. chipper41 says:
    November 13, 2018 at 4:49 pm
    Just like it’s business when fans decide to stay away from nfl stadiums because the game has gotten way too political.
    —–
    That’s not a business decision. That’s an emotional decision. A business decision for a fan is refusing to pay for game because the team hiked prices $50 extra.

  42. “So he did what he had to do in an effort to get the most he could for his skills, abilities, risks, and sacrifices.”

    I hope he tweets out how much he got paid to play pickup basketball and ride jets skis. It surely was more than 14.5 million, otherwise why “risk” injury.

  43. Remember, Bell lied to his teammates that he was going to report. His own O-linemen were ripping him for it in the press.

    Guess that was just another “business decision”, though, only affecting him.

    Like other posters have said, James Conner is MORE than making up for Me’Veon, so adios muchacho.

  44. If there ever was a time to squeeze Bell it’s now. Does anyone REALLY think he’s going to sit out ANOTHER year? If you’re an interested team you low ball him. He wants like $17m/yr… start with $10.5 then once the negotiations climb cap out at $12.5.

    Why would you pay him a dime? You have a younger player making a fraction of what you suggest and producing equivalent numbers.

  45. The unlikely has now become reality. An NFL player will choose to sit out the entire season”
    ============================

    Been done before. John Riggins sat out 1983 over $300,000. Took Gibbs to talk him back into playing

    It was actually 1981 when Riggins sat out.

  46. The issue I have as a fan is he lied. He said he would show up and have his best season ever. His agent said he would show up the Monday after the season starts. He said he would be a part of this team. I’m fine with him making a business decision. I’m not okay with dishonesty and playing the victim card when you aren’t a man of your word. Bell has made his bed, he can lie in it the rest of the season.

  47. The Mike Wallace business decision … He outwitted Antonio Brown …wait … Hmmm what happened to Mike, anyone know?

  48. Bell sure made a decision as he left 14 million dollars guaranteed sitting. No way he cares about making anything out of this as caring for other players but his own self importance. Bell had no problem for lying to his own players of the Steelers in telling them he was returning, bla bla bla.

  49. Call it what you want, but as a running back, his career probably won’t be as long as he would like it to be because of injury or lack of production and he could end up wishing he had that $15 million. But, hey, it’s his choice and his risk to take.

  50. tdskinz says:
    November 13, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    The unlikely has now become reality. An NFL player will choose to sit out the entire season”
    ============================

    Been done before. John Riggins sat out 1983 over $300,000. Took Gibbs to talk him back into playing

    It was actually 1981 when Riggins sat out.

    ——————————

    Washington’s Sean Gilbert sat out the entire 1997 season. They were offering him a 5 year $20 million dollar contract. Gilbert was traded the following year to Carolina where he signed a $46 million dollar contract over 7 years.

  51. If it’s nobody else’s business. why are you talking about it and giving your opinion on what he should or shouldn’t do and have been continually?

  52. “Regardless of whether future events make it a good decision or a bad decision, it’s his business decision. And how he handles it is nobody else’s business.”

    If someone is dumb enough to air their dirty laundry in public, they dang well better expect people’s opinion on the matter. Bell had no problem in tweeting out his plans, then backing out on said plans multiple times. So, why wouldn’t people voice their opinion?

  53. Bell has every right to holdout.

    And fans have every right to criticize him for it. And whether or not he plays is certainly the business of his teammates, coaches and fans.

  54. The language in labor agreement does not state what you keep stating. And, why ficteams have to keep paying full salaries when player is hurt and unable to contribute or work? Why not pay players lesser salaries for not contributing for injury or other reasons? Not fair to company

  55. “In Bell’s case, the Steelers opted to prevent him from getting maximum compensation for his services by squatting on his rights beyond the expiration of his contract. Twice. So he did what he had to do in an effort to get the most he could for his skills, abilities, risks, and sacrifices.
    Regardless of whether future events make it a good decision or a bad decision, it’s his business decision. And how he handles it is nobody else’s business.”

    Really. Can we at least be a little objective?

    Yes it is a business decision. But the slant to the story is that the Steelers did something wrong. They did not. They too made a business decision. They offered him to be the highest paid at his position. They “tagged” him – which also would have made him highly paid. They did not “squat on his rights beyond the expiration” of his contract. They exercised their rights under a collectively negotiated contract to reserve his services. Bell opted to pass up the money in hand for the hope of getting it tomorrow. Do I think he made a bad decision, YES. But its his money and his decision. But the Steelers certainly did not.

  56. redlikethepig says:
    November 13, 2018 at 4:47 pm
    No one is upset that he did this. It’s just hard to understand how this “business decision” makes any sense. He’s not going to recoup the almost $15 million he left on the table. We question the intelligence of it … not his right to not play football.
    ————————————————————————————

    For Bell, this was about securing future guarantees (in excess of $15m), which the one year franchise tag does not. Any injury this year, could’ve made that all go away.

  57. “if you make the Steelers the outright villain in this story then you’re also completely dismissing Bell’s role in getting himself hit with the franchise tag.”
    —————————————-
    Bell should have never received the franchise tag in the first place. Guarantee the Steelers would have locked Bell up heading into year three of four of his rookie deal had he not received BACK TO BACK SUSPENSIONS under the league substance abuse program.

  58. Oh…so now football is strictly business? Than why complain when your employer tells you not to protest while on company time? Why cry collusion when the teams decide that the media circus around your protest isn’t worth a roster spot for a mid-level qb (at best). Florio wants it both ways.

  59. It is indeed a business decision. And the calculation for the wisdom of that decision will be how much more or less money he ends up making by taking this path.

    He’s starting off at -$15 million. Let the race begin…

  60. An NFL player will choose to sit out the entire season, in lieu of accepting the terms offered to him by the team that controls his rights.

    That’s ultimately what the franchise tag is. It’s not an honor, as some have tried to describe it in the past. It’s an artificial restriction applied to a player who otherwise would be able to shop his services to the highest bidder.

    ——

    What a really players only view. It is also very flawed.

    The team isn’t setting the terms – the CBA does, and that is agreed upon by the players and the owners. The key there is that the players were part of that. So making the Franchise Tag out to be the problem, the players didn’t seem to mind when they saw that Cap go up and more players get paid.

    The FT is an honor if you think about it, you are being determined to be something that is a cornerstone of the franchise and more importantly, you are now being ranked as 1 of the top 5 at your position. You may not like the honor, but it is still and honor.

    You are right, it is his decision, however it is overly simplistic to say people are mad at him for not showing up. Most people are mad because he was feeding them a line of BS, you know like when he said this was going to be his best season ever?

    People were mad at Mack, Donald, and Thomas which they had every right to be, they were under contract and not honoring it. Then again the person that wrote this article doesn’t care about that because he openly suggests they should breach their contracts and sit out in their own best interests.

    Make no mistake, the players are just as greedy and money grubbing as they and the media accuse the owners of being. Instead of trying to make themselves out to be misunderstood and the victims – own it, admit it, and maybe just maybe the owners would respect them more and work with them better.

    You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, also nobody works well with dead weight (meaning people working against them), works better with cooperation.

  61. What is it with these xMSU players that constantly start **it? I find it quite amusing when these kids are in college all they talk about is making to the NFL. Then, they make it — start getting paid and that’s not good enough. I recall hearing stories about the old guys who made the NFL what is today stating how they worked another job during the offseason just to make ends meet and now it’s come to this.

  62. Bell has gambled….his chips are in, Darrelle Revis did what he had to do year by year and it worked out…

    However it will be fun rooting against Bell….

    As someone who has worked since I received my SS card, this seems strange, but I’m a simple person….

  63. The word fan is truly defined where the NFL is concerned. I read sixty posts and not one of them addressed what would have happened to Bell’s future contractual prospects if he had been injured while playing on the tag. His mind, body, skills, and the CBA are the only cards he holds, and he gets to use them for whatever he thinks is best for him.

  64. Florio says it’s nobody’s business. That’s true as long as his actions doesn’t impact anyone else. Fans who pay their hard money to follow, watch and attend games as well as buy the merchandise of these teams and players have every right to voice an opinion. We pay ridiculous of amounts of money to be a part of this “business.” So No, I don’t accept it’s none of our business mantra. If that’s the case….then Bell should return the money he’s made off of fans buying his jerseys and products he endorses. It’s a two way street. And fans have every right to not follow this player or the team he opts for.

  65. “It is indeed a business decision. And the calculation for the wisdom of that decision will be how much more or less money he ends up making by taking this path.

    He’s starting off at -$15 million. Let the race begin…”
    —————————————————————————-
    Exactly right. The angle that he’s simply “delaying” his income is patently ridiculous. We don’t get to hit pause on our aging process so that we can play later.
    He gave up 15M. That counts. What he did do, is protect himself from possible injury. That’s it. That 15M is lost no matter how you slice it.
    You want to say he took the calculated risk to forgo 15M now for the chance to earn 50M later? Ok. I’ll hear that argument. But he could have made 65M.
    And by the way these players manage money….he’ll need it!

  66. Does Connor’s success impact Bells deal next year? It’s gotta factor in for atleast some of these boneheaded GMs.

    I’d pass on Bell and pay a good O lineman in FA every time.

  67. Mike: really? The Steelers “squatted on his rights”. The Steelers offered him $20,000,000 in guaranteed money as part of a long term deal. He wanted more. That is his right, but it’s hardly as you describe.

  68. Well, unbiased NFL fan opinion: easy call for him – either take 15mil, play for a team you want to leave while you risk getting injured when you were not desperate for that money. Or, you rest while healing your body while staying in shape. then get to chose where you play next year and for a deal that pays you guaranteed money over 4 to 6 yrs. even if it averages out to the same 15mil it’s a better deal.

    Don’t get me wrong, do I want to watch him play..hell yeah. But, it’s a business on all sides of the game. Us fans don’t like that, but it is.

  69. And, if he was desperate for that money to feed a family, he would play. But if he is in a position to challenge and win the franchise tag system . I would do it

  70. There’s a good article at the SBNation Steelers blog about Sean Gilbert doing this exact same thing, a long time ago and under a different CBA, and getting paid big time. But Bell is probably going to be seen by both players and owners as a test case for getting around the franchise tag…take a sabbatical year or two and then come back for that big payday. With or without collusion, the owners will be aware that they really can’t let him profit from this; they like that franchise tag and don’t want to see it weakened by a loophole.

  71. It won’t happen, but wouldn’t it just be hilarious if he signed with New England? Seriously, wouldn’t it?

  72. Since Bell never signed a contract for 2018, he technically is not employed by the NFL. How does this affect his pension, benefits, insurance etc.? And as someone mentioned earlier, a lawyer may be able to argue that someone who was technically not in the league cannot accrue time served as a player. And since the franchise tag has been negotiated and agreed upon through the CBA it would be difficult to argue that Bell was prevented from reaching free agency inappropriately.

  73. I wonder what things would be like next year if a rested Bell just happened to sign with an AFC North team like, say the Ravens? I mean after they rid themselves of Harbaugh and Mister Elite QB and re-balance the checkbook. Stranger things have happened.

  74. He’s free to do whatever he wants. It’s his money. Still likely a monumentally bad financial decision. And not just for the lost $14 million. He did a lot of damage to his image and teams will likely think twice about offering a huge guaranteed deal to somebody who they haven’t seen play in a full year.

  75. Bell is a rap star not a football player! This “shake and bake”drug star will be out of the league in two years! Broke in five years and signing autographs for a few bucks.

  76. “If youu could sit out a year of a sport youu play and your not injured or somethin else is preventing youu to play, then youu don’t love it!”

    -LeVeon Bell

  77. tqaztec says:
    November 13, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    Send him to Oakland/Vegas
    ————————————–
    This is funny when you consider how Mack
    and Segal used their leverage to get the
    Raiders to trade him to the highest bidder.
    Which, in retrospect, is what the Steelers
    should have done with Bell.

  78. Yes he has made a business decision. And it was a dumb one. He gave up 14 million which he will not get back.
    He will get another contract with guaranteed $$ for the first couple years for about the same $$
    He did nothing but delay his payments.
    He lost 14 Million. Period.

  79. Gotta hand it to you, Florio. I expected you to defend the media-darling Steelers and to demonize Bell, but you didn’t. Bravo.

  80. For those of you thinking he is going to make up the $15 million he lost this year, think about the numbers.
    On a 3 year deal, he needs $20 million per year guaranteed. Over that 3 years he gets the extra 5 million a year to cover the year he lost.
    Which means he got the same amount over the same four year period. Anything more than a three year guarantee and it takes him longer to make up the lost $15 million in 2018.

    Now he does gain one less year in playing time which is 3 years of pounding instead of 4 years.
    I doubt he gets $20 million a year guaranteed.

  81. Bell got drafted by the Steelers and had to sign the contract in front of him. It was for four years and he played each of those four years. This whole, “you lived up to your contract but we can just slap a tag and you have to play for us for another year” thing seems incredibly sketchy to me. Especially when teams use the tag to justify offering them a lousy contract with the same amount of guaranteed money just spread out over more years (as the Steelers did, and as the Skins did with Cousins IIRC, and as teams constantly do). Ultimately, Bell lost the PR battle and he won’t make the money back, but I commend the guy for refusing to play in a situation he didn’t want to play in. I’m not sure why the NFLPA hasn’t brought this up recently.

  82. Florio, if you don’t like the Franchise Tag then get a job with the NFLPA and negotiate a better deal…

    While no one knows how this will turn out, here’s what we do know – Bell will be playing for a crap team next year because they are the only one’s with the salary cap space, desperation to think that signing Bell will significantly improve their team and a propensity for taking risks that don’t pan out.

    Can’t wait to see which one of them rolls the dice on this guy!

  83. Steelers fans laughing now- won’t be when there one and done in the playoffs- that’s when LBELL is at his best- he’s one the most clutch athletes of all time – right up there with Michael Jordan /Bob Gibson and Mariano Rivera.

  84. Bell has every right to do what he is doing. The Steelers have every right to do what they are doing. Bell passed up on a contract that he will never receive in free agency. If anybody thinks he is going to average more than 15 mill a year are crazy. There’s more to this story than money. Why would anybody in their right mind pass this much money up when they know they will not make it up. Injury? Get an insurance policy to cover that. Making a stand? Fine. Watch your team in the playoffs and maybe Super Bowl champs. Bell has every right to do this. Just saying.

  85. superfanentertainment says:

    Nobody remembers his dad Todd Bell holding out the ENTIRE SEASON in 85 from the Bears and missing that Super Bowl run?

    Like father, like son.

    Yes, Todd Bell, may he rest in peace, sat out the entire season in 1985 and it irreparably damaged his relationship with the Bears.

    One problem with your assertion. Todd Bell is not Le’veon Bell’s father even though you might think so since they share the same last name.

  86. Hard to imagine holding out for more $ at 14.5M from the perspective of my $100K per year household. But who the heck am I to say? Do what you gotta do big boy. Hope it works out. If not, you’re gonna wish it went a different way.

  87. The Steelers offered a contract to Le’Veon Bell in the offseason and he turned it down. They also “tagged” him and by extension offered a second contract to him which he turned down today. Actions agreed to under the CBA with the members of the NFLPA. Is the CBA fair? In some ways yes and others no but it is what the players, the Steelers players voted against it, as a whole agreed to. Bell has shown he will follow his own path and he would rather sit out then play. He also has been suspended twice under the substance abuse policy. A reasonable GM and team owner will be cautious in offering a substantial amount of guaranteed money to a player closer in age to 30 than to 23, he will be 27 on 2/18/19. Will someone pay him what he wants? Quite possibly and through private channels a GM may have indicated so to his agent. That doesn’t mean a GM will still be employed come the opening of free agency at 4:00PM on 3/13/2019. I will miss him as a Steeler and I wish him well but no matter how much time he may have had off his body won’t be the same at 30 as it was at 23 and a team that has the cap space he will require won’t be able to afford the offensive line has given up.

  88. I wonder what impact Ryan Shazier’s injury had on Bell’s decision? I haven’t heard anything on this perspective…

  89. bizmaukee
    Nov 13, 2018, 8:01 PM EST
    Steelers fans laughing now- won’t be when there one and done in the playoffs- that’s when LBELL is at his best- he’s one the most clutch athletes of all time – right up there with Michael Jordan /Bob Gibson

    What a joke he hasn’t played a full season either he is hurt or suspended and as for playoffs that’s a bigger joke

  90. Oh one other note: Bell avg 4.0 per carry. Steelers off line for naked #1 by PFF. Now the 4.0 per carry back behind one of best olines sits out entire year. Who is going to blow their cap? That delay thing that he does behind avg offensive line may net 3.8 yds per carry next year?

  91. I still wonder if his great business decision was really an attempt to avoid the mandatory drug test when he reports.

    How many strikes does he have already? 2 or 3?

    That would certainly hurt his future marketability. So Florio is probably right. Good decision to throw away 1/10 or more of his probably football earning career (if a great RB has a 10 year life span) by sitting out a full season.

    I am sure his next contract will be more than 10% higher than it would have been if not sitting out. /sarc

  92. Can you get pre-emptive surgery to beef up those Achilles things in your legs, they seem to break after a little layoff like this…

  93. Mr Florio your argument on behalf of the player regardless of who the player is makes me come to read content on your site daily. This is a perspective that would be difficult to find elsewhere. 👍

  94. I’m glad for BELL…he should be able to test the market and earn his value. Both parties seem content to move on. Let the bidding start just know before the ink drys he may hold out on you also. Hahahahahahahahaha

  95. For everyone saying the franchise tag is sketchy and unfair please remember…it was COLLECTIVELY BARGAINED AND AGREED TO.

  96. It’s about time somebody stood up for what is right he didn’t care about the 14 million this year he cared about getting the security that so many others have in other sports and some having this he did the right thing I don’t want to hear from the guy making 50 Grand a year complaining about what he would do for 14 and a half million no one’s asking you to work for 14 and a half million levian special it’s just the way it is

  97. James Conner has duplicated Bell’s numbers at $800,000 per year. He hasn’t been arrested for DUI or smoking pot, the fans LOVE him, and the whole team is rallying behind him.
    The Steelers have saved 14.5 million in salary that they can spend next year on their offensive line. How is this not a huge win for the Pittsburgh Steelers?

  98. Bell did great in Pitt, Conner has been doing great in Pitt, Heck DeAngelo Williams was great in Pitt for a little while anyway filling in for Bell while on suspension. Makes me think Bell’s success was more the system there and/or a great offensive scheme / great offensive line. Bell could have a rude awakening next year when he’s playing for a team that doesn’t block as well as Pitt does and he becomes a ‘marginal’ player at best. He also may not get the HUGE contract he thinks he’s gonna get… GOOD, greedy S.O.B.

  99. So, all you working stiffs making $50,000 a year should take note of this diva’s turning up his nose at FOURTEEN MILLION bucks a year. Yeah, we should definitely empathesize with spoiled dudes like this! NOT!!!!!!!!!!!

  100. Agreed 100% it is a business decision that Bell has every right to make. But how can he possibly make up the money he left behind this year Sure he will sign a big deal next year but how much will he really get beyond guarantees that really aren’t?

  101. Good for Lev, It is his body theSteelers wanted to trash just as they are Connor’s. Take control Lev, and you did, Moral of the story if you play for Pittsburg prepare to get paid 60% of your market value.

  102. Bell needs better representation. He turned off at least half or more of the teams in the NFL. Teams that do not want to be bothered with any player that they can’t trust to show up for work.

  103. nflguru12 says:
    November 13, 2018 at 8:14 pm
    He’ll be in Green Bay next year forcing 8 men in the box, and opening things up for for Mr Rodgers.
    ———————–
    Perfect! Two divas fighting over King diva.
    Sucking up cap space while every other position on the team is left to patch work.

    LOVE IT !!

  104. And, when it comes to football, everyone seems to be allowed to make business decisions except the men who play football. Because we want them to entertain us. When they choose not to entertain us, we become confused. We feel betrayed. We lose the privilege of witnessing the special things a football player can do on a football field, as it relates to our fan loyalties, our viewing enjoyment, our fantasy-football lineups, our wagering interests.“
    ——————————
    “We become confused. We feel betrayed” Glad you got it all figured out for us. Or maybe people just know if they refused to do their job because they didn’t get a raise they asked for they’d be fired. And ultimately he would’ve still made millions for running with a ball.

  105. It’s a business decision for Bell but it is also a business decision for the media (PFT included) to ratchet up the rhetoric. This is how the media makes money.

  106. Why does everybody keep commenting on how he’s not going to make up this 14.5 million?? he knows that he’s trying to make a point here and it’s not about money in his pocket today… do you guys think if 5 Games into this season if he signed that franchise offer and he would have gotten a career-ending injury where would he have been? Yeah I’ve heard all the “sign an insurance policy” rhetoric but he’s trying to make a point to better the game for his fellow players “they need guaranteed contracts”… in this sport the owners can’t afford it and I’m sorry the guy making $50,000 a year isn’t Le’Veon Bell he’s got a special skill set so he can do this…. he will get more guaranteed money then Todd Gurley got this year Gurley was offered one and a half times more than he got in guaranteed money that’s the point …I’m tired of just the quarterbacks and the edge rushers getting all the money.. you guys don’t have a problem that Sam Bradford’s made over a hundred eighty million in this game and levian makes what he makes it’s all relative you guys are siding with the Billionaire’s and fighting against the millionaires nice job fellas

  107. I love the guys who are sure he’s going to wind up in Buffalo or Oakland you’re missing the point he can pick and choose now he’s Kirk Cousins 2.0 there will be somebody who is one decent running back away from winning a Superbowl like perhaps Philadelphia or even Denver. You guys think he doesn’t know what he’s doing he does I just don’t understand the forget him he’s not going to make that money up he doesn’t care

  108. *Blaming” Bell? No. Making fun of him for making a terrible business decision? Of course!

  109. IDC how this works out for Bell. Thats between him, the Steelers, and the NFL. What I do care about is that In my ff league the Connors owner was looking to get something for him just before Bell was supposed to report and traded him and Stephan Diggs to me for Alvin Kamara. Kamara is actually the better RB but he is only averaging about 3 points per week more than Connor and I was struggling badly with my WR due to injuries and underperformances. Diggs does fill a hole there. So I picked up anout 7-8 points per week as long as Connor maintained at his current average. The thing that could have hurt me was a Bell return so thats what I was betting against. So here we are.

  110. 8rickster8 says:
    November 13, 2018 at 11:45 pm
    Bell did great in Pitt, Conner has been doing great in Pitt, Heck DeAngelo Williams was great in Pitt for a little while anyway filling in for Bell while on suspension. Makes me think Bell’s success was more the system there and/or a great offensive scheme / great offensive line. Bell could have a rude awakening next year when he’s playing for a team that doesn’t block as well as Pitt does and he becomes a ‘marginal’ player at best. He also may not get the HUGE contract he thinks he’s gonna get… GOOD, greedy S.O.B.

    ——————
    Bell will be fine in that scenario because he will have already secured the big contract before any on field result manifests itself. The injured oarty will be the team that breaks the bank for him if they dont get the results. He might even be playing lights out and doing better behind a weak line than any other RB could, but still have that netting out to an average or maybe slightly above average running game. That would be a loss for that team because they would be paying for a dominent one.

  111. Pardon me if I repeat what anybody has said. Lots of comments. The Union and the NFL agreed upon the way free agency will be handled. No different than my union agreeing with management on a raise or salary scale. And, this is also no different then when many people sign a “no compete” clause. Yes, we are all free to not work, quit, etc. But, then we don’t get paid. It really is as simple as that. I know Florio always takes the side against the NFL, which is strange, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is an agreement in place and Bell decided not to play under said agreement. It’s a business decision, yes, but it is a ridiculously dumb business decision. Why? $$$$$.

  112. strength531 says:
    November 13, 2018 at 4:59 pm
    So it’s a “business decision”, let’s assume it is. With every business decision that is executed in the real world there is a fundamental plan to predict the “return on investment”. That plan predicts the return (i.e. expected windfall) in comparison to the risk being taken to execute it. In this case it’s a $14.5M risk. Please describe the “likely return” expected (i.e future contract details), along with the justifying rationale that makes it more likely than not, that the risk is worth taking.
    ———————————————————————————
    Really? The whole premise of this move is about guaranteed money. Bell’s contract (the franchise tag) was fully guaranteed at 14.5 million, for this year only. By playing on this tag he assumes a great deal of risk in terms future earnings because of the potential for injury. A healthy Bell would likely be given a contract similar to Todd Gurley’s extention, 4 yrs $60 mill with 45 guaranteed.

    Assuming that Bell finds someone to pay him a Gurley deal (there’s always one idiot, like Miami’s owner) then from 2018-22 he will have secured $45 million in guaranteed earnings by not playing. Had he played on the franchise tag AND gotten the deal then from 2018-22 he will have $60 million in guaranteed earnings.

    BUT….had he gotten hurt and had a down year because of it while on the tag, the odds are that he would not have gotten anywhere close to $45 million guaranteed on the next contract and depending on the severity almost no guaranteed money at all. Quite often players coming off significant injuries have to play a “prove it” year to make teams believe in their health and productivity.

    Because of the uncertainty of future earnings based on health risks, passing on $14.5 mill for $45 mill is a sound business decision.

    I don’t like what Bell did, and I know that he can never recoup the $14.5 mill he didn’t take this season, but the logic is sound. He could’ve/should’ve handled it better in the media, but that speaks to his character more than the business advice.

  113. Have we ever had such a wide range of difference in one season as the contract situations of Le’veon Bell, Earl Thomas, and Khalil Mack?

  114. Nobody’s business but his own? How about all of the players in the locker room who were adversely impacted when the team couldn’t use the $14.5 million held in reserve for his franchise tag when — back in July — Bell said he would show up.

  115. youngnoizecom says:
    November 14, 2018 at 9:24 am
    Great job by Bell. Good business decision and a calculated risk. He’ll make his money back
    ==========================================================================================

    Considering the average life span of a RB that is not guaranteed.

  116. FoozieGrooler says:
    November 14, 2018 at 9:37 am
    31 other teams are watching all of this and thinking “Hmm, if he did it to them, what’s to say he won’t do it to us?”

    ————————-
    Its a valid point that he has now shown this willingness. But he sat out a tag year not a contract year. So the only time those teams would have to worry about history repeating itself would be if they tag him at the end of a contract they sign with him. But at that future point he is going to be old enough that it’s going to be highly unlikely they want to anyhow.

  117. Hey he sat out and didn’t play. Absolutely left 14M on the table that he never recovers. He will get paid but he doesn’t get what he thinks he is worth. He goes to a bottom feeder team. Not because competitive teams don’t want him but because competitive teams won’t pay him what he thinks he deserves. Some desperate stupid GM will overpay him, he will be a great player on a bad team. Yay for him.

  118. FoozieGrooler says
    31 other teams are watching all of this and thinking “Hmm, if he did it to them, what’s to say he won’t do it t

    ————————-
    Coffeehog says
    So the only time those teams would have to worry about history repeating itself would be if they tag him at the end of a contract they sign with him.
    _________________

    I agree it’s likely he never holds out again because it’s he won’t be worth the contract he signs at the end. Which is the reason he isn’t worth Gurley’s contract which sim less than what he is asking. At the end of the day, he will always be short 14M dude needs better advisors.

  119. Most people here probably would kill someone for $14mill (even less)…that’s why so few show respect for his decision to reject that amount of money just to keep control over his life.

  120. I’ll say this for the guy…he said he was going to do it and he did. Whether or not we understand it (how could we, we’ll never find ourselves in that kind of position for that kind of dough) or agree with it or whatever, he stuck to his word and I respect it.

  121. The guys he’s played w/ for years might have an opinion on the situation and maybe his coaches. Other than that, the way Connor is playing I don’t think the fans really care b/c the production is there from the offense.

    Good for Bell and I hope he gets everything he thinks he deserves. Praise him for sitting out and forfeiting $14,500,000….uh yeah, gonna be hard pressed to find the average Joe to give him a standing ovation.

  122. Not sure how sitting out a year so you won’t get hurt looks to potential teams and teammates? it’s the nfl so just about all of them play hurt but have the heart to play through for their organization and fans the steel curtain existed before he got drafted and will endure long after he’s out of the nfl that being said good luck to bell with the rest of his nfl career

  123. it’s funny that there where SO many reporters saying Bell contacted them and gave them valuable information on his current status,when he would report and where he was etc… and NONE of it was true! so kudos to Le’Veon Bell for playing the media for fools. hopefully this tired story will now go away and the steelers can stop being asked about someone who technically wasn’t on the team at any time this season

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