I’m not sure if you’ve ever noticed this before, but it certainly seems as though Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Gerry Dulac is firmly amidst the camp of those who’ve ‘had it up to here’ with Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, two years on into his contract saga as he attempts to become the highest-paid running back in history.
Bell, currently sitting on a franchise tag offer that will not be signed until shortly before the regular season, has now less than a month before the mid-July deadline that allows players who have been given the franchise tag to work out a long-term contract for that season.
Should the two sides fail to reach an agreement—as was the case last season—when Bell will have no choice but to play under the franchise tag. Well, he could choose not to play, but that would cost him money.
Dulac let the sixth-year veteran have it a bit during his public chat yesterday, calling him a “narcissist” and saying that there is no chance of him being on the team in 2019. This is not exactly a departure from his long-standing comments and positions about the first-team All-Pro. But one comment in particular stood out to me.
Responding to a questioner who had the audacity to say that even great running backs like Bell are “a dime a dozen” (how many great running backs are there in the NFL right now? Half a dozen?), Dulac said that he agrees, and that some in the organization agree too.
He wend on to say that he “could find 10 RBs to put back there and the Steelers’ chances of going to the Super Bowl would be no different”, a comment I have a pretty hard time digesting, considering how they performed without Bell against the New England Patriots in 2016, even with DeAngelo Williams.
So who are the Dulac Ten? Todd Gurley, of course, and Ezekiel Elliott. David Johnson, Alvin Kamara, Kareem Hunt, Saquon Barkley, and a few others would be named. But would even half of them really be such an even trade for Bell?
Dulac also said that Bell does not make Ben Roethlisberger better the way Elliott or Gurley make Dak Prescott or Jared Goff better, but rather that Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown make Bell better. This seems to be a pretty strong argument to make regardless of what you think he is worth in terms of the contract he’s out for.