Devil’s Advocate: Tuitt, Big Al Winners In Bell Fallout

You may recall for the past several offseasons that I ran an article series called The Optimist’s/Pessimist’s Take. I used it to explore different issues and topics the Pittsburgh Steelers were facing and took a positive or negative approach, examining each side in a separate article. This is essentially the same idea behind that, only condensed into one article for every topic.

In this version of the idea, I’ll be playing the Devil’s Advocate for both sides of the issue, looking at the best-case and worst-case scenarios in trying to find the range of likely outcomes of what is likely to happen for the Steelers relating to whatever topic the article is covering.

When it comes to the process of trying to construct a championship roster, the reality is that there are a ton of moving parts, and several ways to acquire said parts. There are a lot of things that can go right or wrong in not always predictable ways, so I think it’s helpful to try to look at issues by seeking out the boundaries of the likely positive or negative results.

Topic: Does the Steelers’ failure to sign Le’Veon Bell to a long-term contract make the potential deals of other players more likely to happen now?

It was not the goal of either Le’Veon Bell or the Steelers’ front office to come up short in working out a long-term deal between the two parties, but at the very least, we now at least have some clarity on that front. We know that Bell is not going to be under contract beyond this season, and with that we can move on to other business.

There are still two other contracts that the front office would really like to get done this year, and those would be the deals for left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, entering his third season as an exclusive rights free agent, and Stephon Tuitt, their left defensive end entering the final year of his four-year rookie contract.

While it is possible that a long-term deal signed by Bell could have actually lowered his cap hit of around $12.1 million that is on the books because of the franchise tag, one also has to consider actual cash flow as well. So are deals for Villanueva and Tuitt now more likely with not deal for Bell?


Quite simply, there is less money being thrown around now than there could have been, so that means that there is more money to go around for Tuitt and Villanueva. The Steelers do like to keep cash and cap flow fairly balanced, at least over a period of years.


On the other hand, one can’t deny that each contract is its own negotiation, and the Steelers proved that they are principled in their negotiations and will not be cowed by one of their talents. Villanueva in particular is either going to take a deal offered or not. Tuitt’s is more clear-cut because he has already been slotted for an extension, so it’s not clear to me that Bell’s situation actually alters that situation at all.

Which side do you lean closer toward?

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