Steelers Don’t Expect Le’Veon Bell To Report

Tuesday marks the deadline for Le’Veon Bell to report, but the Steelers aren’t expecting him to show up, Jeremy Fowler of tweets. Of course, if the running back does not come to the Steelers and sign his franchise tender, he will not be able to play in 2018. 

Bell is determined to preserve his body before free agency, so, from a business perspective, it would make little sense for him to suit up now. He’ll forfeit his remaining $6MM in salary if he does not play this season, but that’s relative chump change compared to the riches that await him on the open market. Already, Bell has sacrificed approximately $8MM in game checks this season.

Bell’s camp has limited its contact with the Steelers this year, so the possibility remains that the running back plans to show. The Steelers aren’t planning on having Bell for the final stretch of the year, but they won’t know for sure unless the 4pm ET/3pm CT deadline passes and the contract is not signed.

The Steelers lead the AFC North with a 6-2-1 record and they’ve hardly missed a beat on offense thanks to the emergence of James Conner. Conner’s concussion is not expected to keep him off of the field this Sunday against the Jaguars, so the Steelers are far from desperate for a Bell reunion.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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12 comments on “Steelers Don’t Expect Le’Veon Bell To Report

  1. Kwflanne

    I can think wait to see his contract in free agency be WELL below what he expected

  2. Rondon

    “chump change compared to the riches that await him”

    After what he put the Steelers through, I’m really not so sure about that. He’ll get paid- But not as much as he would’ve made. Even the Steelers players were out on him.

  3. madmanTX

    The Steelers should lock the doors and turn out the lights on their offices today.

  4. ctrbuddy

    Hasn’t Bell said for a couple of years he was going to do this? He did not want to keep on receiving the tag.

  5. Reportedly turned down $70M over 5 years with $17M guaranteed. I have to agree with Bell in that the guaranteed amounts seems insultingly low, but that’s still a ton of money to turn down when the alternative, as he is finding out, is…. nothing. The contract was tentatively worth $14M AAV….. which is a TON for a RB nowadays. As long as he stayed healthy enough to play 10 games a year I’m sure he would’ve stay in Pitt for at least 3 years of that deal, equating to $42M. Instead he’s followed the horrible advice of his agent and is REALLY betting on himself here by likely sitting out the entire season. I can’t imagine a team offering him much more than a 4 year deal worth that same $14M AAV. As for the guarantee….. maaaaaaybe $20M. That’s a $56M deal with $20M guaranteed. So pretty much just the first 2 years being guaranteed.

    Bottom line…. between the previous suspensions (plural) and now having this “hold-out guy” image, I can’t imagine too many teams being overly eager on trying to sign him. Philadelphia is the only place I can think of that makes sense as they are in need of a RB and are a contender. I guess Tennessee is in need of a RB, but I think they’d be better suited in using that money in acquiring an actual, viable WR. Corey Davis looks like he might be a decent receiver, but after that their targets for Mariota to throw to are pretty weak. The Packers could be an option and he’d thrive with Rodgers throwing him the ball….. but as a Bears fan 1) I don’t want to see that, but also 2) the Packers are a mess. I think they would much rather see what Aaron Jones can do the rest of the year and hope he turns out to be a viable back so they can use their remaining cap space to address the MANY holes on that team….. which I’m loving, haha. Which leads me to my Bears. With Jordan Howard pretty much forgetting how to run the da** ball this year, and with Trubisky looking legit, and the rest of the team pretty much set for the most part….. maybe some additional receiving help is needed…. but that’s why Bell would make sense. That said though….. I don’t want to see them blow that much cap space on a relatively easily replaceable position that is RB. Also, Tarik Cohen has pretty much the “receiving back” duties under control. If they were to sign Bell they’d have to get rid of both Howard and Cohen….. and maybe then some to make room for Bell’s contract he thinks he’s worth.

    But the other hold up I and likely most teams have with Bell other than his suspensions and now this hold out is……. he’s been injured pretty much every year he’s played. Do you really want to give an injury prone RB a ton of guaranteed money? I don’t. I hope he becomes Philadelphia’s headache.

    Bottom line though – I can’t see anyone who thinks they’re just a RB away from being legit contenders giving him a ton of guaranteed money. I mean…. RB isn’t exactly a vital position anymore in today’s pass heavy… pass FAVORABLE league. Whoever ends up with Bell it’s more likely he’ll have better use as pretty much a WR lined up in the backfield. Fewer and fewer teams run the ball anymore as their primary offensive attack….. IF ANY. At best, coaches have a 50-50 split between pass plays and running plays, and I can think of maybe only 2-3 teams like that nowadays.

    IMO…. Leveon Bell sh** the bed on this. I can’t see him getting more than the Steelers offered him and he turned down. So he’s out $14.5M this year, and probably will only get that $17M guaranteed in the contract he does sign…. if that. $20 at most. Do the math. Had he come back on the tag, boom, $14.5M in his pocket. Even if he does get injured in 2018 (likely) the Steelers likely go with Conner and Conner lights it up. Steelers let Bell walk and he still likely gets a sizeable deal from a new team. Maybe….. $15M guaranteed…. maybe more. Maybe he gets the same deal Gurley signed. I think he got a smaller overall figure over 4 years but his guarantee was like $22M. So $14.5M this year on the franchise tag + $22M guaranteed in the new deal he’d sign after this season = $36.5M in his pocket. Now….. I can’t see him getting much more than the $17M guaranteed he was offered by the Steelers. Less than half what he likely would’ve gotten had he just shown up to friggin play and do his job. People LOVE to talk about how greedy and money hungry owners are. Players are the same way. Listening to how Bell sees himself he sounds like he thinks he IS the Steelers’ offense. And that’s irked his soon to be former teammates, particularly his offensive line with them saying “he makes 7 times as much as I do, and without us [the offensive line] he’s nothing.” True. If bell goes to a team with a lesser O-line he’s going to find out REAL quick he relies on more people than he realizes to put up the big numbers he has put up in Pittsburgh. Where they have a solid O-line and potentially a HOF caliber QB. I’ll laugh my a** off if the only team willing to give him the moon is someone like the Cardinals….. or better yet the completely in shambles Raiders. I seriously doubt Bell could put up 1,000+ yards rushing and 600-800 yards receiving in Oakland/Las Vegas…… wherever they play in 2019 and beyond.

    I just couldn’t imagine turning down $14.5M. He needs to fire his agent. Again…… play on the $14.5M tag. Pittsburgh likely wouldn’t tag him again after that because it would be beyond retarded money for a RB. So then he signs a deal elsewhere and at a minimum gets $10-15M guaranteed so roughly $30M in his pocket – at least. And that $10-15M guaranteed is me assuming Bell gets injured in 2018 like he usually does so the guarantee is lower because he’d have the “injury prone” monicker. People know what he can do when healthy and to think someone wouldn’t guarantee him at least $15M is a bit foolish. Apparently his agent thought that and we’re at where we’re at. Bell has lost millions. All because he has a fool for an agent and because Bell has a skewed sense of self worth. I know that second thing sounds bad, but he has to realize he plays a pretty expendable position. He has to realize he’s only as good as the blocking from the O-line in front of him, or as good as the QB is to throw him the ball. Yes, he has put up excellent numbers, but he seems to think he alone is responsible for all that production. No. No he’s not. Without Antonio Brown drawing coverage away from Bell is Bell as open as he is…. for a quality QB in Roethlisberger to throw him the ball. No. If they had a lesser QB does Bell catch as many balls thrown his way or are more thrown off target? Yes. If he has a lesser O-line does he rush for 1,000+ yards a season due to inferior blocking? yes. Point is, RBs rely on A LOT of people to make them the “centerpiece” of an offense. QBs, other WRs/TEs to draw coverage off you, and the entire O-line providing you quality blocks to create running lanes. He had all that in Pitt….. good luck finding all that on a new team. A new team that must think it’s a RB away from contention….. a new team that thinks it’s a RB away from contention AND has enough cap space to accommodate Bell’s contract demands. Yeah…. good luck. Speaking of luck….. I guess Andrew Luck and the Colts would be a good fit, haha.

    • geejohnny

      Whew!! Someone had some time on their hands but I have to admit that you made several good points. He played against the Steelers need for him in their offense. Even the Steelers didn’t completely know what they had in Connors. Winner Steelers….loser Bell.

      I couldn’t even guess who pays the big bucks for him. Will he sacrifice dollars to win a super bowl? (Patriots) Or go purely for the dollars with Raiders or the Niners? We’ll see.

  6. WouldSettleForWildcard

    Most, if not all of these comments assume Bell would have played this year and stayed healthy. Wouldn’t something serious—say, a torn ACL—have potentially decimated his future earnings? While I may not agree with Bell’s handling of things, his actions seem based on a logical, if conservative, financial calculation.

    • Triteon

      Let’s say Bell had played and had an average “Le’Veon season”. What would he be in line for in 2019…$20MM? That number seems awfully high (Gurley is at $15MM) but perhaps plausible. It’s even possible he still gets that as FA. But now he needs to make $25MM/3 AAV or $23MM/5 AAV just to make up for his lost 2018 salary, and that’s just to *break even* over 3 or 5 years.

      Unless some team wants to pay him like a QB, he’s gambled a lot of money on himself and likely lost.

  7. He plays a season longer. More tread on the tires. Unless a sudden injury. Which would explain why Bell held out for a multi-year contract with guarantees.

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