Almost all Pittsburgh Steelers fans have either taken comfort in or resigned themselves to the belief that the 2018 season is going to be the last for running back Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh. While his detractors certainly do not believe he is not a very good player, the majority of them simply do not believe he or any other running back is worth the money that he is seeking.
The Steelers reportedly offered him a very generous contract that would have easily made him the highest-paid running back in NFL history, but according to his agent, his party was not satisfied with the fully guaranteed portion of the offer, and ultimately turned it down.
In spite of the fact that the two parties were unable to resolve their differences, the negotiation was reportedly amicable, and the Steelers have already advised that they have every intention of resuming dialog about re-signing with the team next offseason.
How realistic is that? According to Bovada, pretty realistic. Only one team has better odds of landing Bell in 2019, that being the Indianapolis Colts. The Steelers and New York Jets are tied for a not-too-distant seconds.
Mike Florio continued to pump out the hypothetical scenario in which the Steelers ultimately decide to rescind Bell’s franchise tag before the regular season begins and instead move on with some combination of James Conner leading the way and trailed by Stevan Ridley, Fitzgerald Toussaint, and rookie Jaylen Samuels.
This of course is a ridiculous proposal that is never going to happen and would be the single thing most out of character that the team will have ever done in a long time if it were to actually come to pass. The Steelers gave him the franchise tag because they were willing to pay it and believed it was good value for the season.
Still, General Manager Kevin Colbert did express a degree of disappointment after the deal deadline passed that they were unable to reach the hoped-for deal, which they intended to allow them to lower their salary cap figure. He suggested that it could potentially limit their moves for the remainder of the offseason.
There is far too much at stake for the 2018 season to make such a move, however, and it would be of little benefit for them to do so. It’s not as though there’s much they could do with that money at this time of the year.
Yesterday, Ben Roethlisberger talked about the importance of the fact that their offense has so much experience working together and how that was part of the reason that they felt so strongly about keeping Bell around this year.
But next year? That’s going to be a business decision.