Le’Veon Bell’s football career has been amazing. The man can do it all. From becoming an All-Pro at the age of 22 in just his second NFL season, to surpassing the 2,200 total yard mark that same season. The man can do it all, and then some. From a football standpoint, there is almost no one better in today’s game. And from a controversial standpoint, he also leads in that category.
To start off the 2015 season, Bell was suspended for the first three games. Luckily, that was later reduced to two games, following an arrest with running back LeGarrette Blount for marijuana possession and DUI charges. The next season, 2016, Bell was again suspended, this time for missing drug tests. Once again, his suspension was reduced. This time it was set at 4 games and reduced down to 3. I will give Le’Veon credit though, he owned up to his mistakes, saying this on his Instagram:
“I’m not the perfect person,” Bell said in the post. “I’m not going to say I act like a perfect person. I make mistakes. I want to apologize for everything I put you guys through the last couple years. It’s been a frustrating run for you. It’s been a frustrating run for me.”
Good man. But, of course, the circus with Bell didn’t stop there. The Steelers, in 2017, slapped the franchise tag on Le’Veon Bell. A move he did not agree with. Although the franchise tag was valued at $12.1 MILLION, it still was not enough. Then, AGAIN in 2018, the Steelers and Le’Veon still could not come to terms on an agreement for a long term deal. So what do you think the Steelers did? If you guessed gave him a hug and kiss you and a smack on the ass, sadly, you were wrong. They franchise tagged him for the 2nd season in a row.
Coming into the 2017 season, the Steelers offered him a contract that was going to pay him $30 million over the first two years and then $42 million the next 3 years. Totaling $72 million over 5 years. That contract would have made him the highest paid running back for one to two-year contracts, besting Adrian Peterson’s. And he deserved it. This is what Bell had to say about the Steelers franchise tag and contract offer before the 2017 season:
“I feel I should be valued as a player, not so much my position,” Bell said July 19, per ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler. “I make plays in the passing game, blocking, doing everything. I’m arguably the top running back in the NFL and the No. 2 receiver on the Steelers, even though I play running back. Their career receiving total vs. mine, they don’t have more yards than me.” –Shout out to garbage ESPN and Bleacher Report for that information.
Usually I don’t agree with the boasting thing. Listening to people talk themselves up bores me unless they can back it up. In this case, you cannot argue you with the man. that comment was as real as it comes and I agree with Bell. So in 2017, Bell threatened to sit out the regular season. He didn’t. Instead sat out the pre-season and let his play for speak for himself. Leading the league in rushing attempts with 321, Bell accumulated 1,291 yards on the ground, caught 85 passes for a total of 655 yards through the air. Along with his 1,946 total yards he garnered, he also had 11 total touchdowns. He said it himself, he can do it all.
So after the 2017 season, Bell rightfully so asked for a contract extension that he deserved. So what was the Steelers power move? ANOTHER franchise tag. So what did Bell do again? He is sitting out the whole 2018 pre-season. Sitting at a base salary of $14.5 this year, he is 2nd behind newly signed Todd Gurley who sits at $15 mil. This time around Bell had to say:
“We’re not coming to a number we both agree on — they are too low, or I guess they feel I’m too high,” Bell said. “I’m playing for strictly my value to the team. That’s what I’m asking. I don’t think I should settle for anything less than what I’m valued at.” quote courtesy of some guy named Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.
“I’m the one to bet on myself. And I’ll do it again,” Bell said. “I understand how the Steelers do contracts. Last year, I was pounding the table on guaranteed money. That’s not the case. If I’m not getting guaranteed money, I want a lot more up front. … It’s year-to-year with the Steelers. Essentially if I sign a four or five-year deal, I’m playing four or five franchise tags.”
Bell is right. He does deserve more money and has called the Steelers bluff with the franchise tag comment. The numbers speak for itself and without Bell, the Steelers would still be good, but definitely not as good as they would be without him. The man is their number 2 receiver behind the best receiver in football, in my opinion, Antonio Brown, and runs the ball better than anyone else in ALL of football. Yes, Bell is greedy. Yes, he should probably just accept $16 mil a year for the next 5 years and get it over with. But, just like anything else in this world, football is also a business. If you’re the best at something, you should be paid how you perform at your job. Bell does his job better than ANYONE ELSE on planet Earth at Running Back. There is no one better. Pay the mother fucker.
Looking at it from the Steelers perspective, I think they’re lucky Bell hasn’t just said “fuck em” and left Pittsburgh. It’s almost disrespectful to a point that Pittsburgh doesn’t appreciate what Bell has done for them. Granted, they are probably tied up in some other shit that hasn’t come out from the media yet, but still, PAY THE MAN! If the Steelers lose Bell after the 2018 season, they could be in some deep shit. However, Bell has came out and said he wants to be a Steeler for life via Twitter. Here’s the link– https://twitter.com/LeVeonBell/status/970825008862978049
If Bell gets his contract after this season, Steeler fans need to throw a party for Le’Veon after all the shit him and the Steelers have gone through. If the Steelers don’t sign him after 2018, Pittsburgh should still throw the man a party for everything he’s done for the franchise. Whatever party they do end up throwing, someone needs to make sure to bring the weed. And invite LeGarrette Blount too.
One more thing- he’s a safe bet for number one overall in fantasy. But no one cares about your fantasy team.