I don’t know if Jarvis Landry’s new contract is truly going to have an affect on the contract negotiations between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Le’Veon Bell. But it certainly isn’t going to do them any favors. Earlier Thursday, Landry reportedly got a five year, $75.5 million deal. We don’t know all the details of it and to be fair, they’re typically not as gaudy as they first appear.
Still, that $15 million average yearly value is a reminder for why Bell is asking for somewhere around that figure. The positions are different but in usage and reality, Bell and Landry are pretty similar guys. Landry is *the* underneath, slot threat in the NFL. He averaged just 8.8 yards per catch last year. Bell? Not far behind at 7.7 and there have been years, like in 2014, where Bell averaged more.
Landry’s longest catch in 2017 was 49 yards. Bell’s was 42. Landry averaged seven catches per game, Bell close to six. The point is, Landry is as close to a receiver comp as Bell can get. And if Landry is getting that much, Bell has every reason to ask for the same. And that’s before factoring in everything else #26 does as a runner, a blocker, and every down position.
If you want to disagree with the amount Landry just got or the dollar Bell is asking for, that’s fine. But that doesn’t matter. The reality is Bell wants fair market value. To get the running back value back on track from where it was with Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson five years ago. To match what players like Landry got considering they’re functionally the same players as receivers.
And if Bell doesn’t get that value he’s seeking? He’s not going to sign. I don’t see him coming down in price, especially after today’s news, and he knows when he’s allowed to hit the market for 2019, he can get what he wants and not a penny less. The offseason makes teams stupid enough to give Mike Glennon $16 million. If there’s five teams flush with cap space competing for him services, he might get more than what he’s asking. Simple supply and demand.
A long-term deal could still get done even if I’ve been pretty cynical about it for the last 18 months. But Landry getting mega-bucks doesn’t make things any easier. It only hardens Bell’s case.