How the Steelers are playing it smart by holding off on a long-term deal with Bell
The Pittsburgh Steelers stood firm with their contract offer to RB Le’Veon Bell, meaning that he’ll have to play for the Black and Gold under the franchise tag.
Bell was offered a contract, but the two sides couldn’t agree on the amount of guaranteed money. Although Bell will be paid a salary near the top of the running back position, he wants to be compensated not only for what he contributes to the team on the ground. Bell also wants to be compensated for the dynamic he brings to the Steelers as a pass catcher.
Bell needs to come to terms with the fact that – although his skill-set makes him a receiving threat – his assigned position is what the Steelers will use to measure how much to pay him. Regardless, Bell is a big contributor to this offense whether he is catching passes or running the rock.
In 4 seasons, Bell has totaled 4,045 rushing yards/26 rushing touchdowns. He has also racked up 2,005 receiving yards/5 touchdowns. Since 2013, Bell is responsible for 6,050 total yards from scrimmage and 186 points.
With those numbers, why wouldn’t the Steelers jump to signing Bell long-term?
The Steelers have the most Super Bowls in NFL history for a reason. They are smart in terms of keeping the right players at the right price. Management knows when there is a true sense of urgency – and a 2017 contract for Bell is not a pressing need on their end.
Keeping him under contract and observing how the season plays out will determine how they spend their money in 2018. If Bell’s productivity continues and he remains a dynamic piece of this offense, I’m sure the two sides can work something out. Pittsburgh historically finds ways to compensate their players what their worth and the deals are fair more often than not.
What could be a concern for the Steelers in inking Bell?
47 games. Bell – whether due to injury or suspension – has played in 47/64 regular season games. He’s been available to the team 73% of the time. Moreover, the Steelers have a winning record when Bell is not on the field – which doesn’t help his case.
Although they are capable of winning without Bell (10-7 record), the Steelers offense is much more potent when all the Killer B’s are available offensively.
One can assume Pittsburgh would have more W’s if #26 was in the backfield.