As it turns out, superstar players and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ penchant for limiting signing bonuses with fully guaranteed money are not an ideal match—something that we have been learning over the past two years’ worth of negotiations between the team and running back Le’Veon Bell.
Of course he’s not the only superstar player on the team who is unhappy with the organization at the moment, but for different reasons. And in the meantime both Antonio Brown and Bell are spending their offseason flirting with potential future destinations. Brown’s opportunity to find a new home is far less assured than is Bell’s, but the latter isn’t likely to land in at least one evidently desired destination.
The running back has recently taken notice of discussion about the potential that he could bring to the Baltimore Ravens’ offense with Lamar Jackson at quarterback, responding to a Tweet regarding said discussion and also making a post on social media about Jackson recently beginning to follow him.
While the pairing might make sense in a video game, it’s not nearly as practical, either one or off the field, for a Ravens organization that is looking to be more fiscally responsible this offseason—in the new general manager’s own words.
The Ravens have generally shied away from making big free agency splashes anyway, in part because they like to play the compensatory pick game, and signing high-priced free agents would lessen their take. They have made some exceptions with a bit bigger contracts in recent years for Eric Weddle, Brandon Carr, and Tony Jefferson, but they remain a rarity, and Bell’s hypothetical contract would pale in comparison.
More practically, Bell’s patient running style is not the ideal fit for the Ravens’ running game, predicated upon the dual threat of a running quarterback. And the fact of the matter is that the running game has already been very successful with Jackson under center with 2018 rookie Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon.
To that end, Baltimore promoted their run game coordinator, Greg Roman, to be their offensive coordinator moving forward, because they know that they is the hear and soul of their offense. They will be building around the run game, but with Jackson being the central focus.
The rookie quarterback already set an NFL record for the most rushing attempts by a player at his position in a season in NFL history. They have already found success running the ball with a rookie. And now they are going to pay a running back $15 million per season or more? It doesn’t add up.