Bell’s Agent: “Likely” Last Year With Steelers

As expected, the Steelers and Le’Veon Bell did not agree to an extension before Monday’s deadline. With that, Bell’s agent Adisa Bakari says the running back is not long for Pittsburgh. 

His intention was to retire as a Steeler. But now that there’s no deal, the practical reality is, this now likely will Le’Veon’s last season as a Steeler,” Bakari said (Twitter link via’s Adam Schefter). “It became clear the Steelers wanted to pay the position, not the player.”

The latter part of Bakari’s quote pretty much sums it up. The Steelers have shown a willingness to make Bell the highest-paid running back in the NFL in terms of yearly average, but Bell has been pushing for a deal to compensate him as a world-class rusher who is also a high-end receiver. Meanwhile, he wanted a long-term deal to have more weight than the average NFL contract, which means high guarantees and heavy cash flow in the early years.

At last check, the Steelers were offering Bell roughly $13.3MM per season on a multi-year extension. Bell’s camp, meanwhile, asked for $17MM per year. The two sides were talking right up until the deadline, but the gap was too large to bridge.

In 2018, Bell’s $14.5MM salary will make him the top breadwinner at the running back position. However, the highest paid RB on a long-term deal is still Falcons star Devonta Freeman ($8.25MM/year). Cardinals running back David Johnson may top him with a new extension this summer, but he has less juice to work with after Bell did not reach an accord.

If Bell continues to play at a high level, he’ll be in line to revolutionize the running back market next year in free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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29 comments on “Bell’s Agent: “Likely” Last Year With Steelers

  1. diller79

    Bell is going to the Lions next season. He went to Michigan state and loves Detroit. Plus the lions are one of the only teams in the league that have a better QB then the Steelers. (Matty Stafford>>>>Big Ben)

    • Michael Chaney

      I see a fit with Bell in Detroit and they’re probably the team that makes the most sense for him, but Stafford definitely isn’t better than Big Ben.

      My probably unpopular opinion: Stafford is the NFL equivalent of Russell Westbrook…they both have big numbers on the surface, but more because of opportunity (the Lions throw it a ton and Russ just takes a ton of shots) and with not enough playoff success to show for it.

      • diller79

        Except the fact that Russel Westbrook has always played with other all stars/hall of famers( kevin Durant, Paul George, Carmelo) and Stafford had Calvin and no one since. Plus in general the lions have had a way worse supporting cast then the thunder so your comparison is off

  2. Thronson5

    Steelers in my mind are foolish not to pay this man as one of the best players in the league. Yea they want to make him the highest paid RB but he’s more than a RB and without him on the team they aren’t nearly as good as they are with him. I hope my 9ers go get him they’ll have the money. Sure every team will try to get him but I think he’s fit really well there even with the Jet just signed.

    • madmanTX

      Yeah and if they paid him 17mil per year, then you’d be crying in a year or so about how they overpaid him.

    • diller79

      The 9ners need to sign Dez Bryant….. he would help out Garapalo so much

    • 2012orioles

      Turns out they offered 5 years 70 mil. That’s a more than respectable offer. They were willing to pay him. Glad the Steelers didn’t budge any more.

  3. baseball10

    Lucky for Steelers they didnt sign him. How much more proof does everyone need that running backs hit a wall faster than anyone other position? Steelers should just look to move him if he’s going to be a headache all year and/or not report.

  4. TJECK109

    The Steelers want to pay the position? God forbid. Should punters get paid for punting and being a place holder on FG and XP? Should be somewhat happy he was put in a system that featured him with an OL that helps him excel. The next Demarco Murray.

  5. itslonelyatthetrop

    There’s gonna be a hiccup in the transfer but Pittsburgh will come out looking savvy and sharp by letting him go sooner rather than later. Bell will get stupid money from someone else. So, everyone wins.

    • bigjonliljon

      Accept the team that pays him stupid money. Will become an albatross contracts on there books for the teams future

  6. steelerbravenation

    Better to lose a guy a year to early instead of a year to late ride out the year and let him walk next year replace him in the draft with the best rb available and pay any olineman that are up for extensions although a great player he is not bigger than the team AB got paid according to what he plans on producing his contract has low guarantees and he was ok with that because he knows his work ethic will get him everything Bell is 1 step away from missing major time and with all the time he was out last preseason and when he finally arrived he was out of shape and took him awhile to get back to form that’s not what leaders do they can trade him now cor all I care

  7. madmanTX

    Steelers have proven they know when to let players walk and guess what? They never produce like they did in Pittsburgh…or at least none of the guys like Holmes and Wallace.

  8. Bubba

    Poor baby. Let him walk right on over to Cleveland or Baltimore and see how it is there. What a whiner

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