Happy Friday to all of you and welcome to another July weekend. Two weeks from today, the Pittsburgh Steelers will hold their first training camp practice of 2017 and thus relevant and meaningful football talk will resume. Thank goodness.
Come Monday evening, we’ll also know whether or not the Steelers were able to sign running back Le’Veon Bell to a long-term contract. In short, expect us to either be breaking down his new contract numbers or discussing what the immediate future holds for him should he not sign a new deal early next week and probably through Wednesday.
The Steelers news cycle restarted briefly Thursday night thanks to comments made by wide receiver Martavis Bryant about quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Personally, I wish Bryant would have just kept his thoughts to himself and held them until the two players could discuss things at Latrobe. As things stand right now, you can probably expect both players to be asked a few questions about their relationship as soon as they arrive at Saint Vincent College two weeks from yesterday. Oh, joy!
Being as there’s not much going on in my life right now, let’s get right to this weeks five questions. I hope several of you will take time to answer them in the comments.
1 – The deadline to sign Bell to a new long-term deal is Monday afternoon so let this serve as the final time you can predict whether or not one gets consummated. Will he or won’t he sign by Monday night?
2 – Including the playoffs last year, Bell had 405 total touches. Will he top that number in 2017, playoffs included?
3 – On Friday, I listed five players who I think might be overhyped ahead of training camp. Please name me the team’s most underrated/underhyped NOTABLE player ahead of report date.
4 – Alex Kozora stated earlier this week on Twitter that former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward is not a Hall of Famer and that might be his top controversial sports take right now when it comes to Pittsburgh circles. Do you agree with him? Also, will Ward ever be enshrined in Canton, in your opinion?
5 – Will you buy and read the new book that Bruce Arians released this week? I’ve already ordered my copy and will try to plow through it quickly. I am also interested to know what most think of him now that he’s been out of Pittsburgh all these years, so feel free to add your opinion of him below with your answer to the book question.
Question 1 – With multiple choice questions, I always remember jumping on the “all of the above” options when unsure of the correct answer. That is what five people did who either said all or none of the above. Either they have embraced Mike Tomlins “not living in his fears”; or embrace paranoia (which is a normal state for many fans). Injury just edged out price tag by a 9-8 vote when it came down to specific concerns about a long-term deal.
Question 2 – Most (65%) believe Bell is worth at least $11 million per year for a long-term deal. One said only if he plays under the tag. This will be a business decision that probably has a couple actuaries involved. Monday is coming fast.
Question 3 – 60% believe that this will be Bell’s last season if he plays under the franchise tag this season. Frankly, having already playing four seasons with several injuries, it is hard to see him playing as such a high level beyond the next 2-3 seasons (coincidentally the probable remaining shelf life of Big Ben). Diminishing returns may see the Steelers letting him go or placing another tag on him next year if a deal is not done by Monday.
Question 4 – A slim majority of 51% believe that this is Ross Cockrell’s last season in the Black & Gold. Reasons vary between younger talent eclipsing his; the organization not willing to pay for starting cornerback value if he has a good year and that Ross simply is not good enough – in other words he can’t win. Either too talented or not talented enough. Yinzers!
Question 5 – 61% took the under on Markus Wheaton having more than 44 receptions for the Chicago Bears in 2017. Chris92021 summed up the reason why this belief prevailed; “No because he will probably get injured again and the QB situation in Chicago leaves much to be desired.”