The Pittsburgh Steelers only have a few weeks left if they intend to sign running back Le’Veon Bell to a long-term contract. If it doesn’t come about by the middle of July, then it is literally not going to happen this year, and the odds of the two sides working out a long-term contract before he hits unrestricted free agency in 2019 are incredibly low.
In other words, we’re getting right to the heart of that sliver of a window that will most likely decide whether or not Bell will be here next year. But Bucky Brooks thinks they should be focusing on getting a deal done with a different player on the roster: quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
“Considering the quarterback market is expected to keep rising — with Aaron Rodgers and others poised to get paid in the near future — the Steelers would be wise to pony up big bucks on No. 7 sooner than later”, Brooks wrote recently. “Even before they take care of Bell? Yeah, I think so”.
It’s not necessary to get something done with Roethlisberger within the next few weeks, so there is no need to put him on the front burner until at least after the middle of July if your intention was really to get him locked up to a longer deal, but other than that, I can’t say that I necessarily disagree with his point about prioritizing the franchise quarterback in the face of a rising market.
Roethlisberger, 36, has two years remaining on his most recent extension, and has been sending mixed signals for the past year and a half about his future. While he most recently said that he feels physically as though he can play for up to five more seasons, he has continued to fall back on his ‘one year at a time’ philosophy.
Even with the hedging, however, it wouldn’t be the worst idea to start talking to Roethlisberger a bit later this summer as training camp approaches about possibly adding another year or three to his deal, and trying to work out the most team-friendly way to do so, an idea he has sounded amenable to recently.
It can hardly be denied that the value of a proven franchise quarterback quite easily trumps that of any other position on the field. Roethlisberger, in other words, is more important than Bell based on the positions that they play.
“The Steelers should be legit title contenders behind their three-headed offensive monster”, Brooks concluded, “but the impending money decisions hanging over the franchise could make this the final run for the “Killer Bs” trio. When prioritizing the Steelers’ triplets, Bell is third in line. That’s just the honest truth”.