Le’Veon Bell Breaks Contract Negotiation with Pittsburgh Steelers
Le’Veon Bell is almost universally considered as the greatest running back in the game of professional football. There is an argument to be made for Arizona’s David Johnson, but it would be a failing one. Le’Veon Bell is the most dynamic back in all of football and he is the motor by which the Pittsburgh Steelers operate their offense. Now, the news is coming out that their star back may not be in such a rush to return to the team. According to reports from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers have failed to come to any sort of agreement on a contract extension — despite Bell’s agent agreeing to a deal.
Typically when an NFL franchise and a player’s agent negotiate they come up with something in the middle. This middle option is presented to the player and the player signs off. Bell’s agent and the Steelers negotiated hard in order to get a five year contract extension put in place for Le’Veon Bell in time for the signing deadline. By all accounts the Steelers and Bell’s agent met right in the middle for a 5 year deal that was worth nearly $13 million per year. The total value of the deal would have put Bell at a value nearly $4 or $5 million over his closest financial comparable, Devonta Freeman in Atlanta who recently signed an extension for $8 million per year.
Le’Veon Bell’s value to the Pittsburgh Steelers cannot be understated, especially after his dominant season in 2016, but Bells refusal to sign off on the deal is absolutely baffling and the reports are out there that Pittsburgh was taken aback by the decision. Bell had gone onto ESPN prior to declining the offer and while on air he told reporters, “I’m not a real greedy guy. I don’t play football just for money or things like that.” Bell went on to say, “I just want to be valued, whether it’s $15 million or lower or higher.” Despite ostensibly saying all of the right things Le’Veon would go back to his agent and have him rip up the contract offer.
What does this all mean for Le’Veon Bell? Well, it means that Bell will be going into 2017 while likely playing on the franchise tender. Bell will be paid nearly $4 million over his closest competition. Still, Bell has to actually report to camp and sign the franchise tender. Deciding to hold out could end up being quite costly as he would forfeit nearly $700,000 per week of his holdout.
The truth of the situation lay closer to the fact that Bell is choosing to bet on himself. If Bell plays on the franchise tag and gun for a bigger deal next year he might be doing so in order to pursue a different team. Last year Bell recorded a rap track with the lyrics, “I’m at the top and if not I’m the closest. I’m a need 15 a year and they know this.” So, it looks like Le’Veon is holding out for the big $15 million per year after all.
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