Pay the man


Still deciding what to do with Le’Veon Bell and his contract…or lack thereof, just might be the biggest and most crucial decision of the past decade for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The concerns surrounding the ongoing Le’Veon Bell contract saga, draw people to question whether or not the Steelers franchise can trust him, having been suspended twice under the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Another question people often throw out is whether or not he still has “the juice,” in which Bell insists on calling himself, as he is close to turning 27 and has well over 1,500 touches and a decent sized injury file, all within five seasons.

While there are plenty of other “positive” scenarios you could generate from the standstill, I think the one that makes me scratch my head the most is one I recently read on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and it read:

“Bell can chirp all he wants about sitting out, but he won’t leave that much money on the table. He would grudgingly sign the deal, so the Steelers should call his bluff. He is smart enough to know that if he wants big money in free agency, he’ll have to have a big season.”

So what they’re telling me is that a soon to be 27-year-old Bell should get franchised tagged yet again, be held to the high pedestal the franchise, fans and spectators hold him to, be ran 250+ times in 16 games alone and make him the No.2 X-factor in the pass game, see how far the run game takes them into the season and through the playoffs THEN he’s cleared for a long term contract at the age of 28 to start the 2019 season?

How Sway?

First of all, Bell already had his “show us” season this season by A. staying on the field and out of trouble, B. staying on the field and not sidelined due to injury and C. coming off his best season since his second year in the league, in which he totaled 11 touchdowns (8 rushing, 3 receiving), 1,361 yards on 290 attempts and had 83 catches for 854 yards; all in comparison to this past season where he totaled 1,291 yards on 321 attempts and 655 receiving yards on 85 receptions. But it would be best to hold on for one more season to proof that the 2017 – ’18 NFL season wasn’t a fluke in terms of trust and production? No.

“Let Bell walk, it’ll save money.”

Right, but will it save the offense who has ZERO effective alternative option at the position? No.

“The Steelers should just exercise the non-exclusive tag,” meaning other teams could negotiate a long-term deal with Bell, and if a desired deal is reached by both parties, the Steelers could either match it or finesse two first-round picks in the upcoming draft...and given the ratchety pass coverage in the Steelers secondary, lack of future at running back past Bell and the uncertainty of Ryan Shazier’s return and inside linebacker depth, who’s to say the Steelers would hit the jackpot finding their new franchise running back? So again, no.

It’s easy, and anyone with the slightest common sense could understand the importance of inking Bell to something mouthwatering and long-term, allowing the Steelers to address other problems among their 53 in the draft and via free agency.

To understand the Steelers as a franchise is to know that they do NOT spend money, and while I was once guilty of advocating for veteran pass coverage help and run support behind Bell, I’m flipping the script and protesting for the Steelers to stay home, ink Bell and patch up holes through the draft. This whole Bell’s contract situation is supposed to solve a problem, not create one, so thinking that allowing Bell’s departure in order to free up money to bring players in for cheap at other positions is the smart thing to do, is just absurd.

Pay the man what he deserves!

#NFL

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