It’s a little after 4 PM on Monday, July 16th. Le’Veon Bell still does not have a new contract.
He will never get one. Not as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, at least.
I’m sure the numbers of what the Steelers offered will spill out sometime soon, no doubt leaked by the team side of things. Or what Bell wanted the organization to give him. And the usual fallout will happen from the Internet.
Bell’s greedy. Kick him to the curb. See ya later. Have fun wasting away in Detroit next season.
Because this will be Bell’s final year. Sure, there’s a chance, but only technically so, he will re-sign before hitting free agency in March. We all know that’s not going to happen.
2018 is Bell’s final year in a Steelers’ uniform. After all the negotiation, all the hope, all the waiting, we have our answer.
For some, it’s a good outcome. Bell wasn’t worth the risk of locking up for five years, the realities of what happens to a running back as they approach 30 and definitely what happens when they pass it. For others, like me, it’s hard to see this team being better without Bell come 2019 and beyond. That’s the reality this team now faces.
Regardless of which side you align with, the Steelers will begin their search to replace him. That process starts almost immediately, college football season on the horizon. Area scouts, scouting coordinators, and Kevin Colbert will travel the country to try to figure out how is going to replace all that Bell brought to the table.
Goooood luck with that.
Don’t want to pay Bell the money? Fine. I get it. I really do.
How do you replace him next year? That’s a tough question.
It isn’t just about what Bell brings as a runner. Pointing to his YPC as a decline in his game is a head-in-the-sand mentality. It’s focusing on the wrong thing, not seeing the forest for the trees.
Replacing Bell doesn’t mean just finding a runner. It means finding someone who can catch, someone who can block, someone who has to be dragged off the field by his offensive coordinator. Then there’s the value that’s harder to calculate. The trust Ben Roethlisberger has in him, lowering his sack count, his versatility that makes it tougher to gameplan for, the complete confidence the team has for him to get the job done.
What are the odds they replace him in one season? With one guy? That’s a tough sell. And will undoubtedly hurt this offense until they can. Time isn’t on their side either. Roethlisberger only has so much left in the tank, possibly two years after this season wraps up, and even Antonio Brown will be on the wrong side by 30 by then. Elite as he is, even AB can’t defeat Father Time.
So enjoy 2018. Enjoy Bell’s hard-earned runs, the catches out of the backfield. Enjoy never worrying if the team has a back capable of making a play when they need it most. Enjoy watching the best back in the game and a potential future Hall of Famer.
Come next year, the Steelers will be worse off without him.