It feels like years since Le’Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers couldn’t agree on a contract extension. The Steelers apparently gave Bell the closest offer to his demands, however, Bell rejected the contract as he wanted to become the highest-paid running back in the league.
The Steelers then put their franchise tag on their star offensive player, securing his services for at least the current season. Well, that would have happened, but Bell stopped reporting to the Steelers and refused to sign his franchise tag contract, mainly because the money was nowhere near what he wanted.
We are currently going into week 5 of the NFL season and Bell is still a no-show in Pittsburgh, however, he has appeared on a jet ski in Miami, a photo that confirmed Bell has no intentions of showing up anytime soon.
There were a range of responses from Bell’s teammates when he didn’t report. It is in doubt whether he would even be welcome back to the team at this point.
It seems there is something wrong with the Steelers on and off the field. They’ve started the new season poorly, only winning one of their first four games and they’re quite lucky not to be 0-4 right now. We also had the whole drama surrounding star receiver Antonio Brown, with him responding in a tweet to an angry fan claiming he wanted a trade. This seemed to be solved quite quickly, however.
I had the Steelers as Super Bowl contenders this season. To be precise, I had them facing the Philadelphia Eagles this year, which isn’t looking the greatest of tips right now. With everything that is currently going on with the Steelers, it’s hard to back them to do well this season, especially considering how dominant the Chiefs, Rams, and Jags look this season.
What now for Bell and Pittsburgh?
Reports surfaced after week 4 that Bell would report to Pittsburgh during their week 7 bye, however, does this mean he’ll sign the contract and play in Pittsburgh or will he sign the contract and then be shipped out in a trade?
Obviously, with how good a player Bell is, 90% of the league would be interested in trading with him.
Another report suggested that the Eagles were the most interested team. The main problem with trading for Bell is that the valuation will be all off.
There’s no doubt that you would get Bell for a top 5 pick if he was on a good contract and things were less messy. Right now, Bell is worth a 2nd rounder and a decent player. The other problem in trading for Bell is that he can’t negotiate a new contract with any team until after the season’s end, so he could turn out to be a very costly years rental.
The Eagles were mentioned in the talks and Bell would be a huge addition for the reigning champions. It might be a risk to take him because of attitude issues, but if you can pay the man, he will play with all his heart.
The only issue with having Bell in the team is that other Philadelphia running backs would have to be cut. They currently have Jay Ajayi, Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement, and Darren Sproles. It would also mean that Ajayi wouldn’t get as many carries and that would be very harsh as he has been brilliant so far.
Other options for the Steelers
A second landing spot for Bell, and this one seems the favourite for fans, is the Colts. It seems unlikely, but so do most potential trade partners because of all the hurdles that need clearing. Having an elite running back would improve the Colts massively, and make a big difference for Andrew Luck.
He could, of course, remain a Steeler. He can easily sign the tag contract, play the season comfortably and then get paid next year. It also makes the most sense because of how hard it is to trade for him. The only obstacle to this happening is that the Steelers are aggressively shopping him out to teams according to Ian Rapoport.
From @gmfb Weekend: The #Steelers are now activately shopping RB Le'Veon Bell, sources say, making calls and doing due diligence. A trade would be difficult, but not impossible. pic.twitter.com/EltwpqYrNs
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 30, 2018
Wherever Bell ends up, it has been a fun and confusing story line to follow but it needs to come to an end. This is doing Bell no good, and the Steelers are just losing value.
The guy is just trying to get paid. Has he gone about it the wrong way? It may look like he has but look at Earl Thomas, he wanted a new contract but he wasn’t as harsh on Seattle and he’s just suffered a season-ending injury and lost many millions. Considering he was the best defender going into week 4, that’s a massive blow and it just proves why Bell is doing what he is doing.