Latest On Steelers, Le’Veon Bell

The Steelers have not had contact with Le’Veon Bell this week and they do not expect the running back to report in time for Thursday night’s game against the Panthers, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears. Bell’s debut may come on Nov. 18 against the Jaguars, but some uncertainty’s emerged on this front.

Bell must report to the Steelers by Nov. 13 in order to play this season, but contrary to what ESPN and other outlets have previously reported, he does not have to report to the Steelers by a certain date to get an accrued season to become eligible for free agency. Bell already has played the four-plus seasons he needs to become a free agent after the season.

The two-time All-Pro running back has missed out on more than $7MM and could conceivably wind up on the Steelers’ exempt list, which would allow the franchise to pay Bell at its discretion. Now that Bell has already missed out on half of his franchise tag salary ($14.1MM), would be merely sit out the season?

[It] doesn’t make any sense for [Bell] to play now,” a source told ESPN. “If he doesn’t want to play for $14.5MM, why would he want to play for $5MM?

Bell returning would net him millions, but he’s already sacrificed nearly eight figures to stay healthy for free agency. While a return would allow him to minimize his workload, he could still be injured during Pittsburgh’s stretch run and ruin this bold strategy’s purpose in advance of a potential March windfall.

If Bell does not report, the Steelers will have the right to franchise tag him for a third time, but at the rate of a second tag.

Despite his differences with the Steelers, Bell refused to go along with a midseason trade in order to give himself the best opportunity to showcase himself before free agency. It remains to be seen whether that was a smart move. When Bell returns, he may be in a timeshare with his one-time backup, James Conner, and that could hurt his value in the spring.

Even without one of the game’s most talented running backs, the Steelers have looked the part of a contender thanks to Conner’s play. On Sunday, the Steelers improved to 5-2-1 on the year as Conner ran for 107 yards off of 24 carries against the Ravens. His 1,085 yards from scrimmage sit only behind Todd Gurley, who’s played one more game than Conner.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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37 comments on “Latest On Steelers, Le’Veon Bell

  1. 2012orioles

    I love how Tomlin put it. “We need volunteers not hostages”

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    • crosseyedlemon

      It’s difficult to think of someone as a hostage when they are getting 15M per year.

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      • leefieux

        He’s not getting a dime and will only get paid if/once he reports. He is throwing away almost 900k per game.

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  2. crosseyedlemon

    Having no future in Pittsburgh, Bell will never report. He’s going to follow Kaepernick down the “collusion” yellow brick road.

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    • gozurman1

      Kind of hard to go down that road when there is one and only one team involved. He is actually harming himself by sitting out because when he has work outs with other teams, he will be rusty from sitting out an entire year. He will limit the number of teams willing to spend for him and no one will be willing to spend what he thinks he is worth especially after sitting out an entire season.

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      • bigjonliljon

        No one is going to spend what HE THINKS he will get no matter what he does

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        • justinept

          hes asking for what DJohnson and Gurley got… his numbers are as good or better. why wont he get it?

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          • Steven Juris

            He’s older then them and didn’t play football for a year.

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    • Brad

      This is the dumbest thing in the world. He already said he doesn’t want to wear his body before he gets paid. That was a gamble he took. Will it pay off? I’m sure some team will do it. Will the Steelers tag him again? I’d hope so. If he isn’t playing for them do they want him out there playing against them? This is all new territory the further it gets played out. But to compare it to what Kap is doing is crazy.

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      • crosseyedlemon

        Sometimes it’s fun to just see how many guys you can hook by proposing a crazy scenario.

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  3. baseball10

    And he wont make any more money by doing all this. He will look back and think of the millions he lost by doing this. And if hes a numbers guy, like most are, he just wasted a year of his prime

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    • tsolid

      So, he Wasted a year of NOT getting beat down by 400 touches? What if it add an extra year on the backend of his career. Could that be a possibility?

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      • gozurman1

        He will have wasted away 17 million that he will never be able to earn back. By not playing, yes he is not going to be beaten up this year but a whole year away from playing will be a detriment on his earning power moving forward

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        • justinept

          he’ll have wasted about $10 mil since he’ll be paid for once he reports.

          and to say he’ll never recoup that money is ignorant of how nfl contracts work. Not only will he get the money back in future guarantees, but he’s giving himself a better chance at being healthy enough to earn more money on the backend of his next deal when the money isnt guaranteed..

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      • madmanTX

        That’s a stupid assessment. What’s another year of mediocre performance 5 years from now? Bell had the chance to show his stuff and lure some sucker team with a bad O-line to sign him. Then they’ll be shocked when he doesn’t put up the same numbers he did in Pittsburgh.

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    • Clark K

      Aye guy you’re funny, there’s gonna be at least a dozen teams that are gonna be interested in Bell, and he’s gonna get paid a lot. GMs realize Bell is a franchise back, the whole reason he’s not playing is cause he wants to get paid once he does he’ll play. The NFL needs to do what the MLB recently did if you get hit with the franchise tag you can’t get hit with it again.

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      • tsolid

        Nah… they’re just hoping he doesn’t get paid. Quite comical that they hate on a guy that’s well within his rights to sit out until he gets why he thinks he’s earned.

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        • 2012orioles

          And the steelers have every right to not pay him. It’s working out pretty well for the steelers. No disrespect to bell or Conner, but the o line is a big part in how well a running back plays. Especially when Ben is at qb and one of the best receivers in the game is on the field. Steelers were smart to not pay Bell what he’s asking for.

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          • madmanTX

            Exactly! At least somebody around he gets it since these dweebs don’t.

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        • Clark K

          There’s qualifing offer which is what I was clearly referring to

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      • TJECK109

        He’s gonna get paid a lot but he won’t recover the money he has lost this year. He was going to get paid a lot regardless. They aren’t going to give him an extra 2 or 3 mil per year that he lost this year.

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      • madmanTX

        You guys make me laugh when you think Bell is the greatest RB of all time or something. It’s his blocking, stupid. I hope your team or any other team signs Bell and then I’ll watch the lame “well, he has to shake off the rust of not playing in 2018” as the reason for mediocre performance in 2019…assuming Bell isn’t serving another drug suspension. Ask your owner to get his checkbook out.

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  4. srs0203

    Hoping he doesn’t show up at all or shows up and the team deactivated him for the rest of the season. The only way I would bring him back is if Conner gets hurt. At this point, he’s going to do more damage to the team than benefit.

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  5. snotrocket

    His little stunt cost him his starting job. Why would Pittsburgh give him any touches at this point?

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    • bedbathandbiyombo

      I would argue the opposite. I think if he ever does report, the Steelers are going to run him into the ground, knowing that they won’t be resigning him and trying to get every yard they can get out of him. He has an incentive to play hard and productively when he does report – his next contract.

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      • jawn

        Though they still would need an effective RB, which I doubt Bell would immediately be after so much time off. Steelers would be wise to ease Bell back in, especially given how well Conner has filled in.

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    • justinept

      so hed get 8.5 million for not playing? damn. thats quite the punishment

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  6. lmmthomas

    Must be nice to have so much money you can stay away and not get paid 14million

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  7. Armaday

    What team is going to give him the money he wants? If they make him one of the highest paid backs is the league, for multiple years, there is a huge risk he holds out for that team because others have surpassed his contract. Of course, he’s not getting younger. Dumb move…I think his career will suffer because of it!

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    • TJECK109

      Well Chuckie out in Oakland says players are dying to play for him and to be honest with their cap space I could see them going hard for him

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    • justinept

      The Redskins, Eagles, Bears, 49ers, Seahawks, Bucs, Jets, Dolphins, Bills, Raiders, Titans, Jaguars, and Colts…

      and none of them are worried about your incorrect opinion that hed hold out for not being the highest paid rb. for starters, not signing a franchise tag isnt holding out. and secondly, hes not asking to be the highest paid rb. hes asking to be given similar guarantees.

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      • WazBazbo

        Todd Gurley currently has a contract with an AAV of
        $14,375,000. Bell’s franchise tag is worth $14,544,000, and he wants more than that… So yeah, he IS asking to be the highest paid RB in the league.

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  8. jjabrony

    Lev Bell’s twitter account just tweeted “So long Miami…”

    He’s been in Miami during this holdout…it this a sign he’s on his way back to Pitt this week?

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  9. ahale224

    I bet Leveon was the one blowing up Gruden with prank calls on that cell phone he’s so proud of.

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