Steelers, RB Le’Veon Bell Fail To Strike Long-Term Deal By Deadline

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Pittsburgh Steelers were unable to get a long-term deal done with running back Le’Veon Bell before Monday’s 4pm league deadline and now the former second-round draft pick out of Michigan State will have to play under the $12.12 franchise tag that was issued him by the team earlier in the offseason.

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert released a short statement concerning Bell’s situation after the Monday deadline passed.

“Unfortunately, we were unable to agree to terms on a long-term contract with Le’Veon Bell prior to today’s deadline,” said Colbert in a statement. “Le’Veon is scheduled to play this year under the Exclusive Franchise Tag designation. We will resume our efforts to address his contract situation following the 2017 season.”

Bell, who reportedly is now fully healed from offseason groin surgery, has yet to sign his franchise tag, however, and thus the talk about the running back will now turn to whether or not he’ll show up for training camp on time.

Bell has every right to show up whenever he feels like it moving forward as he’s not currently under contract with the team. With that said, a late arrival to training camp, or bypassing it entirely, isn’t likely to endear him to his teammates, some of whom already wished he had been present for the team’s offseason sessions even though he wouldn’t have been expected to participate in them due to rehab.

A Bell training camp holdout really won’t accomplish anything as the Steelers can’t sign him to a new contract now until after the 2017 season has concluded.

If the Steelers want Bell to remain in Pittsburgh past the 2017 season, they’ll likely need to place the franchise tag on him again prior to the start of the 2018 league year. The amount of such a tag will be $14.5 million. In order to receive such a tag, however, Bell will have to have another spectacular season and remain fully healthy and out of trouble with the league in the process.

Bell enters his fifth NFL season having already registered 6,050 total yards from scrimmage and 31 total touchdowns in 47 regular season games played. The running back has missed five games during his career due to suspensions for violating the leagues substance abuse policy and another 11 due to injuries.

  • Crowned

    Run him into the ground. At least he’s not out beating up DJs. #SilverLining

  • Darth Blount 47

    Son of a …..

    I want to read the news TOMORROW that we signed Tuitt and Villaneuva to new deals.

  • NinjaMountie

    Welp, I for one am not going to lose any sleep over this. We have him this year unless he wants to sit out. I still say run his wheels off and then let him walk.

  • Sam Clonch

    Dang. Wish I could have been a fly on the wall. We’ll forever have to wonder what held things up.

  • Ravens Team Gynecologist

    Well, at least we didn’t overpay for him in the long term.

  • Crowned

    I say run the wheels off, franchise him again in 2018 continue to run those wheels off and then move on.

  • LucasY59

    Non exclusive tag next yr, let a desperate team sign him away and collect two 1st rdrs for him, or get him for one final yr at 14 mil (which = 13 mil per over the last 2 seasons) by then the wheels may be run off and they will need a new RB anyway

  • LucasY59

    $$$…focus (he needs 15 mil!!!)

  • T3xassteelers

    We will tag him next year again and try to strike a deal again. Not worried..

  • Jeff McNeill

    Probably his last year in Pittsburgh.

  • NinjaMountie

    I think we will literally run his wheels off this season. I also think he’ll have another injury as well. I’m not hoping, mind you, but I just think he will. I think this is a smart move by the Steelers and it’s obvious now that his 15 mill motto was probably true after all.

  • Jeff McNeill

    No way another team will pay him that much and give up two first round picks.

  • Michael James

    Not loosing any sleep here. The Steelers usually pay their players accordingly and offer very fair deals. If Bell, who has suspension and injury issues, wants to milk them, it’s his fault.

  • Jaybird

    I’m not so sure we are going to tag him again next year. I think this might be Bell’s last year in Pittsburgh.

  • Andrew Norwood

    Yes, I second that. I bet he was asking for something really stupid! We can have his best 6 years and draft his replacement

  • SteelersGeek4Lyfe

    I love Bell, but if it’s going to be like this… give him 400 touches this year, tag him again, give him another 400… then whatever

  • terrygordon30

    I am relieved.

  • Jeff McNeill

    Nfl network said the Steelers offered a contract worth more on average that the tag. I don’t seem them offering even that much next year. I see him leaving and making les then 10mil a year.

  • Jaybird

    I got that same gut feeling about bell getting injured this year.

  • LucasY59

    if that is true then I really think Bell is Stupid to refuse the offer, turning down 12mil+…DUMB

  • Brian Miller

    This…

  • Sam Clonch

    We’ll never know for sure. Can’t recall Steelers ever talking details like this after the fact.

  • Andrew Norwood

    Yeah I think the FO did the right thing here. He’s going to wind up making LESS over his career than if he had stayed. He’ll never get paid for the back end of his next contract.

  • Kevin Artis

    Sad thing is I have his jersey. o:( But I’ll just retire it to the wall encased in a frame with the rest of my ex-or retired steelers.

  • LucasY59

    but we know that is how much Bell wanted

  • NinjaMountie

    Yup, if true, then Bell is stupid and, perhaps, the most egomaniacal player in the NFL right now.

  • Andrew Norwood

    He’s a helluva player, but appears to fit that tag

  • Darth Blount 47

    And I want to date Jennifer Love Hewitt. But at least I’m realistic!

  • Sam Clonch

    When the next guys is making $8 mill….

  • Jaybird

    Bell will be a future installment of Matt Marczi’s ” the grass isn’t always geeener” series.

  • Steel Your Face

    I wonder if him being out 16 games for injuries and suspensions had anything to do with a deal not getting done…

  • nutty32

    pull off the name plate and enjoy your Woodson jersey

  • Sam Clonch

    We know he said that in a rap song. Doesn’t make it true. Doesn’t mean it’s what he would have accepted.

  • John Pennington

    Greed kills how much money do a player needs.Team first go do rap and see how money you make.Trade him for 3 first round draft picks.

  • NCSteel

    Steelers are very fair with their deals. I’m a little surprised here.
    Hope the terms of the final offer come out so I can decide for myself who was being unreasonable and who was not.

  • cencalsteeler

    From the front office standpoint, I’d say it’s a genius chess move on their behalf. You can taste a Superbowl on the horizon and now you have a motivated rb that you can run the wheels off of.

  • Jeff McNeill

    No way anyone would make that trade.

  • Denny

    Effectively it is a 2yr deal for $26.6M, with next years money guaranteed when Bell signs the 2018 tag. This seems relatively fair for both sides and Bell gets to skip camp for two years. If they couldn’t get a long term deal this year working from a $12M base, I don’t see much chance that it could happen next year with a $14.5M base and the player being a year older.

  • LucasY59

    his decisions so far have made me think he is a combo of immature and ignorant (with arrogant mixed in as well, which is a really bad thing)

  • Jones

    Same here, bro!

  • Darth Blount 47

    Maybe James Conner will be fully acclimated by then!

    (*Tries to grit his teeth and be as optimistic as possible right now)

  • Jaybird

    Get a JuJu jersey!!!!

  • nutty32

    He stands to make $26mil guaranteed PLUS bite at free agency after that. No way the team can come close to that & Bell can just buy his own insurance policy against injury.

  • JohnnyFootball

    One foot out the door now. No cap relief. Saw this coming a mile away unfortunately. It doesn’t get any easier to sign him going on year 2 of tag, just gets harder.And usually more expensive.

  • NinjaMountie

    Welp…that’s in the rearview. Now lets get Tuitt and AV done and get this show on the road.
    I don’t see the Steelers tagging him next season so that opens up some cap space that would have otherwise been used.

  • Matt Manzo

    Maybe the guaranteed money wasn’t enough?

  • Darth Blount 47

    I love that Texas optimism!

    (The stars at night… are big and bright!)

  • LucasY59

    with him I dont think its that far off.

    and if the Steelers made an offer that averaged at least what he was making off the tag and he refused then he obviously wants a lot of $$$

  • Jeff McNeill

    Don’t need cap,relief this year.

  • NinjaMountie

    Agreed. Barring some crazy turn of events I think this is his last year in Pittsburgh.

  • srdan

    Agreed. I love players in their contract year.

    To his defense, he doesn’t seem like he needs motivation.

  • LucasY59

    or a 1st rd pick can step in day 1

  • walter

    But he believed he was a good rapper so he may also have believed he could get15 mil.

  • CP72

    Hard to believe that Bell, Roethlisberger, and Bryant could realistically be gone in two years.

  • Jeff McNeill

    Something was not enough for him and to much for the team. They both made their choices time for what’s next.

  • Steeler Fan J

    i think he is taking a calculated risk, and i think the steelers have already drafted the backup plan in james connor. He is getting 12 million this year which we wouldn’t be willing to pay him. so he is taking a risk that he stays healthy and dominates and we offer more money next year. Or if we offer him the same deal that we did this offseason it gives him one more year in the league (depending on guarantees). however if he is thinking that it doesn’t matter because we will just franchise him next year and he will make even more, he is sorely mistaken. no way the FO pays him 14.5 mill next year when the going rate for running backs is way lower. i don’t see us franchising him again. next years offer if there is an offer will be a take it or leave it offer. if he leaves it and signs elsewhere at least we should get a pretty high compensation pick.

  • Steeler808

    May be true but there is no downside to a non exclusive designation at that point in time. They may get lucky…some NFL team’s do strange stuff.

  • Sam Clonch

    I’m sure you’re probably right, but I wanna KNOW!!!

  • NinjaMountie

    Yeah, that’ll stink. Ben is the real kick in the bleep. No fun looking for that next franchise QB.

  • JNick

    I feel the same way. Worse case scenario we pay $14 million for him next year. If he wants to hold out during the season, deal with it then. If he wants to make a big statement and push the envelope, suspend or trade him.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Do I need to start scouring the MaxPreps scouting guides?

  • Darth Blount 47

    *Tear rolls slowly down cheek

  • cencalsteeler

    Most would agree that purchasing rather than leasing makes more business sense. In the case of rbs in the NFL, it may just be wiser to rack up your mileage and lease away.

  • NinjaMountie

    I don’t think JC is the future at RB. RB will be high to very high in the draft pecking order next offseason. He’ll bring us a 3rd round compensatory you’d think.

  • Matt Manzo

    Damn! At least there’s no worrying over running the wheels off! I’m not as sad as I thought I’d be.
    Like most have already said, nothing wrong with another tag next year, if he performs well this year.
    Kinda was hoping to not have to scout RBs for a few more years. But now we gotta find out who’s gonna be there between rounds 3-5!

  • LucasY59

    Barkley!?!

  • Darth Blount 47

    He was unanimously voted team MVP. I think his teammates love him.

  • Steeler808

    Damn. If that’s true I’m glad he didn’t sign. With his history that’s just too much.

  • JNick

    I’m sure he wasn’t holding out for his own personal slushie machine. He wanted paid more than. He was worth. I’m being serious about that too. Bell has to realize his actions have lowered his value to the team. He seems unwilling to acknowledge that.

  • NinjaMountie

    I would dance a jig if we got him.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Does Sir Charles have eligibility? 😉

  • RickM

    I likely shouldn’t be surprised but I am a little. Without knowing for sure what was offered and turned down, it’s tough to comment beyond that.

  • Sdale

    Queue the old highway garbage adds with the chief…or am I the only one old enough to remember that?

  • William Weaver

    Conner can handle 2018 along with a draft pick. No need to let Bell hold team hostage after 2 suspensions and lack of “being there” come playoff time.

  • walter

    This is why we drafted a RB.

  • LucasY59

    Im not saying that he isnt well liked (part of why I am frustrated is because I like him) but the suspensions where beyond stupid, and him refusing good $ because he thinks he can get more (when the market says the opposite) show me someone who needs to grow up and get a little more wise

  • Matt Manzo

    I think 3rd round is where we’ll look for a RB. 1st and 2nd should be either QB or Safety.

  • Doug

    Not a chance. They’ll franchise him again, if they can’t work out a long-term deal.

  • JNick

    It seems his agent thinks he can simply reset the market.

  • LucasY59

    Turrible…Saquan

  • Darth Blount 47

    Colbert just released his statement. It’s hard to glean feeling over just text words, but it seemed as though even he was a tad bit surprised/disappointed.

  • Steeler Fan J

    i think JC will surprise you. No he will not be as game changing as bell can be, but he will be a more than serviceable runner/ pass catcher. I will admit i am from the Erie area that he also hails from though, so i may be a little optimistically biased.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I have refrained from posting anything on the Bell contract situation until now. But now I must speak out…

    Le’Veon Bell has out performed his rookie contract by a significant margin. I think I saw a stat recently where he gained more all purpose yards in his first 4 years than almost any RB in NFL history. He has worked hard every off season (losing weight, perfecting his routes, etc). And he has given 100% every time he steps on the field. He deserves to be paid. I am not mad at him. I don’t suddenly hate him just because he won’t sign a deal that HE believes does not represent his value.

    However… Now that he has chosen his road. The Steelers must choose theirs. I absolutely agree with Crowned that we should run him into the ground this year. Not as pay back. But as a strategy to win. Try to win the Super Bowl this year. If we have the cap room next year (and Ben comes back) we tag Bell again. And run the wheel off him again. And try to win a Super Bowl again.

    Bell is going to get his $26 million over the next two years one way or the other. This mitigates our risk of another Lamar Woodley cap situation. If Bell gets hurt again this year (which is somewhat likely with his groin injury) you will all be glad we didn’t lock him up for $30+ million guaranteed. Let that money go to Tuitt and Villanueva and see how good a different young RB can do behind our elite OL.

    The NFL is a business. And sometimes you have to make very tough business decisions. I’m glad the Rooneys showed some restraint. Now let’s go win a Lombardi.

  • NinjaMountie

    Depends on what RB is there. Also depends on who else is there lol. So many options. RB will be a huge priority unless Bell goes down in game 2 and JC rusher for 1200 yds….which could happen.

  • IndianaCarson

    “Unfortunately, we were unable to agree to terms on a long-term contract with Le’Veon Bell prior to today’s deadline,” general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement. “Le’Veon is scheduled to play this year under the Exclusive Franchise Tag designation. We will resume our efforts to address his contract situation following the 2017 season.”

  • ND_Steel

    I’m afraid Bell’s main motivation will not to be hurt at the end of the season.

  • Darth Blount 47

    If we lowballed him (relatively speaking of course) then I don’t think you can say that. But if the offer was in anyway fair, then I get where you are coming from. Totally. It’s a gamble.

  • walter

    Yea the franchise tag for RBs is just too high. It made it hard to sign him.

  • NinjaMountie

    I think he was asking for 20 mill a season, a recording contract, and the sacrifice of a fatted calf.

  • RickM

    I agree that that will be in his mind. How that will translate to his play, if at all, is a tough one to gauge.

  • JohnnyFootball

    Bell could realistically be looking at this….

    2017 – 12.1m
    2018 – 14.4m
    2019 – 16m (signing bonus on new deal/base salary)
    2020 – 12m (pretty much guaranteed due to signing bonus proration/dead money)
    2021 – 12m (good chance he sees it with dead money)
    2022 – 12m (not guaranteed by a long shot, cap savings)

    Total – 44.5 **guaranteed** over next 4 years.

    And there would still be about 8m in dead money for 2021, making it pretty likely he sees that year too. It would take a massive number next year to actually get a deal done if they franchise him again. 3rd tag would be the franchise QB tag number at 28m? or so. That isn’t happening. So now he can use UFA as leverage knowing that.

    Bottom line….now a hard deal just got incredibly harder to do next year. All the numbers just went up, by a good amount. If they weren’t willing to go there now, they damn sure won;t next year either at a higher price tag.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    I don’t think anyone is at fault here. Bell felt like he could get more on the open market. He’s betting on himself. There’s nothing wrong with that thought process. If he wanted to play it safe, then yeah he could’ve sacrificed some salary and locked up his financial future with a long term deal with us. But it’s not wrong of him to think he could get more later.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    The grass may not be greener but his bank account sure will be. And that’s what’s most important.

  • Sdale

    No virgins? The god’s won’t like that.

  • NinjaMountie

    I really don’t see him resetting the RB market like that. I think that’s why a deal didn’t get done this year.

  • Conserv_58

    It seems, based on Colbert’s comment, that Bell and his agent priced themselves beyond what the Steelers were willing to pay. IMO, If Colbert and Kahn couldn’t get a deal done this off season then it’s highly unlikely they will next off season, especially if Bell breaks records this season. As for Bell, it would be highly unwise for him to hold out.

  • RickM

    Lol, you may be closer than you think. We all know what Bell has said in the past and we also know the Steelers have been fair with their stars. It’s a pretty safe assumption on our parts that he priced himself out of a deal. I kind of hoped he would realize that he’s missed almost 25% of the games and had two surgeries, and the team is taking a risk on a long-term deal. But I doubt that he felt that way. My inner thought is will he be 100% committed to every yard and every play. I’d be lying if I said that I was certain he will.

  • LucasY59

    sometimes the agents are dumber than the jocks (dont mean to put such a negative connotation on athletes but agents are slime and sometimes jocks are dumb)

  • RickM

    I guess they gave it their best shot, or what they felt was a very fair one. As for signing him to a long-term deal in 2018, that ship has sailed IMO.

  • Jeff McNeill

    I don’t believe they will, but I am wrong a lot. I don’t think he is worth the tag amount this year, or any other running back. Not my money though and they have the cap room. I think he will want even more next year and if I was the team I would not go above 10 mil a year next season. I would them rather let him walk and get probably a 3rd round pick the next year.

  • LucasY59

    rumors are their offer was = to his tag cost, which IMO is more than fair

  • Conserv_58

    That’s pretty much my take on why he didn’t sign. He may be an exceptionally good RB, but IMO, no one player is worth breaking a team’s cap for, especially a player with his history.

  • LucasY59

    to him (which I guess is legit) but there is a chance he loses $

  • Conserv_58

    I wonder how much they’re going to love him once they discover that he turned down the Steelers’ offer.

  • JohnnyFootball

    Watch what happens if he stays relatively healthy and a potential 2500 yd back hits the open market, and a bunch of terrible teams have insane amounts of cap money to blow. (49ers for example will have over 100m in cap room, other bad teams with like 50-70m). He will get more than 12m a year.

  • nutty32

    Not that hard to find and add an Eric Pegram, either.

  • Andrew Norwood

    Let’s see, 6 years in the league and some team is gonna break the bank for a RB? Let them do it, and that’s one more team we’ll donkey stomp!

  • Tim

    Run him like Willie Parker- “until the wheels come off.” Then if there is any tread left, tag him again and run them tires till they are bald.

  • Steeler Fanatic

    He will be gone when the Steelers decide, probably after 2018. This is where I wish the Steelers get creative and work a sign and trade after next year. Durability trumps productivity in many cases. Don’t hamstring the team by overpsying for a back, no matter how dynamic.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Players usually and generally root for other players to get as much money as possible. That’s the narrative. Plus, if the money is large enough, it sets the market higher for them.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I’d like to see that substantiated somewhere. But yes, if true, that’s MORE than fair.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Sadly, I essentially agree. Even though Colbert put on a good face by saying they are going to try again next off-season.

  • Steeler Fanatic

    The plus with Barkley is the guy is high character. At the state hs track championships, he gave his gold to a girl who was DQed because of a fault or something.

  • LucasY59

    It will be tricky, I think early on he will want to prove he is worth a lot of $ so the beginning of the season he will be motivated to play well

    so then the deciding factor is, how well is the team doing? if they are leading the league and look like they will be the SB favorites then I think the lure of a championship will keep him going, BUT if they have a few miss steps and are barely going to make the playoffs I could see him quitting on the team to save himself for FA (which almost guarantees the team wont be a SB contender)

  • JohnnyFootball

    I heard it included 77 virgins as a roster bonus next year but it was still a no go.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    I think it will be ILB and S in rounds 1 and 2 (either order) and RB in round 3

  • LucasY59

    yeah I want to know for sure as well, but I doubt we will ever see actual details (unless it comes out after Bell is gone and they want to stir up the mud, but that isnt how they do things, so most likely we will never know)

  • JohnnyFootball

    So what happens if despite the durability he still produces better than any other RB in the league? You pay for production in the NFL. And Bell has more of that than any other RB in the league the last 4 years, regardless of his “durability” issues. Which are very overblown.

  • Darth Blount 47

    If it comes out from either side, one would think it would be Bell’s. But the Steelers could have a leak to try to save a bit of face. But assuming Bell signs the tag and plays, it’s currently not the end of the world. (Not like he was an UFA) We’ll at least all be guaranteed to see Bell this year as we chase the Stairway to Seven!

  • Jeff Papiernik

    My prediction: Bell is tagged next year as well and then walks the year after in free agency. Martavis will also be leaving that year via free agency. Ben will see the writing on the wall and retire the year Bell and Martavis depart which is also the year Harrison’s 2 year contract is up and he will retire as well. That means we will lose Ben, Bell, Martavis, and Harrison in the same year. The Super Bowl window has been set ladies and gentlemen. 2 years.

  • LucasY59

    instead of sign and trade they can tag and hope someone is desperate enough to give up the 1st rd picks from the non-exclusive tag, which is better than just letting him go in FA (3rd rd comp in 2019 or 2020)

    at worst the have to pay him 14 mil for the tag, but that keeps him around another yr and doesnt overpay him long term, best case scenario they get two early 1st rd draft picks and free up some cap space

  • will

    “Imma need 15”

  • Jeff Anoble

    An absolute blessing in disguise. Time will tell.

  • Steeler Fanatic

    I hear you but I just can’t past paying him $12m per year for four years. He is worth it but he is also one hiccup away from a longer suspension. The fact that he didn’t come to terms is very telling.

  • LucasY59

    It has already been set by Ben and as long as he is still playing they have a chance, structuring everyone else around that time frame might actually be a good idea (if they need to do a full rebuild)

  • Steeler Fanatic

    Outside of qb and maybe an elite wr, lt or pass rusher, I don’t overspend for any position.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    Exactly. Like, if he retires this next year, no point in tagging Bell, we’re not going anywhere regardless. But if Ben says he wants to go another year after this, biting the bullet and tagging Bell one more time might be in Ben’s best interest. Bell is a great security blanket to have and can push us over the top for a title potentially.

  • LucasY59

    I decided to get a Brown jersey instead of a Bell (bumblebee) last yr because I was unsure of the longevity of Lev

  • Ravens Team Gynecologist

    Perhaps this results in Tuitt getting an extension before this season and you can get a Tuitt jersey.

  • LucasY59

    yep it is looking like the FO made the right business decision today

  • PaeperCup

    Bell vs. Bills
    236 yards rushing 6.2 YPC 3TDs 4 rec 62 yards 15.5 YPC

    I see a lot of dissenters here. Considered the best back in the league by all of us just a few months ago. I get that we don’t want to over pay him, but we can’t be acting like losing him is for our better.

    I hope he has an incredible season while we have him, but if he’s gone after that, I personally will miss his production.

  • Mr. Goodkat

    Well said. In addition, running backs in general just are NOT worth that kind of money. Too easily replaceable, too short of a shelf-life, too susceptible to injuries.

    Bell is the best back in the league. I’m not sure any one other back can do what he does. But proportional to value, plenty of guys combined can get you close enough for a fraction of the cap space. Paying him $12M+ would be a luxury I’m not sure we could afford in a couple years (yes, even if Ben retires). Someone else will (hello CLE/JAX/SF) — and good for him — but I think spending over $10M on a single player at the position with the current cap is a mistake. Especially with his track record of missing games.

  • LucasY59

    Its more frustration than dislike, I still like him as a player and also really want him to have a great season (just kinda disappointed that it looks like the chances of him having a (long) HOF career with the Steelers is very unlikely)

  • WreckIess

    According to Rapoport, the contract averaged a little more than the tag, but the issues were in language of the contract. Not enough guaranteed money and not a big enough signing bonus to make up for that lack of guaranteed money. I can’t be mad at either side about that. Disappointing, but both sides just wanted some security and that’s a fair stance to take. Hopefully they can figure something out next off season, but in the meantime they need to work on figuring out how to split his workload and keep him injury free while he works on staying suspension free. Keeping him on the field for a full season will make both sides feel better about a potential contract.

  • PaeperCup

    My sentiments exactly, I was thrilled to say we finally had the best back in the league on our team, I was hoping he’d be a lifer and a HOFer like you said….but we can’t have em all I guess.

    I will not like going up against him.

  • Andrew Norwood

    We haven’t lost him yet. Tag and tag and let him walk. Hopefully with 2 rings, but definitely with a lot less tread on the tires.

  • Andrew Norwood

    He won’t be the same player in years 7-8 as he has been in years 2-4.

  • Kick

    This will be Bell’s last year as a steeler. Steelers never win bidding wars for talent. Sad

  • Mr. Goodkat

    If you have the cap space he is 100% absolutely worth $14M for 1 year. He accounts for SO much of the offense and he can do it all, so even if you have LJ or a rookie in, the offense is SO much harder to read.

    The issue with Bell (and most other RB’s) is not one year value — it’s long-term value. The position has a short shelf-life in general (don’t age well), injuries are common, the league is more pass focused, and often the back is a product of the offense line and/or system. Bell is great in the pass game and isn’t a product of the system, but he has major red flags (injuries, suspensions). Again, for a single year the guy is worth as much cap space as you can afford to give him. Guaranteeing large sums beyond that is the issue,

  • LucasY59

    if that is true than the FO had the contract structured correctly, they already had the 12mil to pay him this yr, so no need to put a big signing bonus up and stretch that $ into the future (where it might be needed for others)

    Bell not signing because of it is a mistake on his part (the 12mil this yr is basically guaranteed, and even if he was offered another 8 in signing bonus he collects 20 mil, even if it isnt “guaranteed”)

  • Mr. Goodkat

    Agreed, just odd given his circumstances. Not a 1st rd pick, has only made his rookie contract amount, injury history, suspension history, plays in a position with a short shelf-life…

    He certainly is betting on himself. Not sure I’d personally take that chance, but what the heck do I know about being the best RB in the league and managing millions of dollars…

  • John Noh

    Nah, I think Woodson only played in the block-number era. So, Townsend?

  • Mr. Goodkat

    They can tag him next year…but after that, I would say thats likely.

    Even if he gets hurt in Game 1 this year and misses the year, someone will give him a stupid contract in 2018. Too many bad teams with loads of cap space.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Called it.

  • JohnnyFootball

    This was always going to be the problem, said it a million times. We only guarantee the SB. That SB would have to be around 18-20m to make it worthwhile for Bell. Highest they have ever given a non QB is Decastro at 16m. Usually they can sell players on the “storied franchise” angle and have them overlook it. but I knew it would catch up to them eventually. The AAV means absolutely nothing if there isn’t a chunk of fully guaranteed money to back it up, to give the player some bonus proration protection. I.E. they can’t cut him until year 3.

  • Kick

    Won’t the tag be like 16 million next year?

  • LucasY59

    If a team is desperate for the best RB in the league it could happen

  • SilverSteel

    Agreed, he should have taken that deal. Since when is 20 mil not an assload of cash to get in one year? Would last most people their whole lifetime and then some. It makes my compensation look….very very small.

  • nutty32

    so Bell trades $26 mil for $20 mil in exchange for what? False claim to be a $12 mil RB when it’s not guaranteed?

  • TsarPepe

    I can see that. Once-in-a-generation talent, should have plenty of suitors.

  • James Rogers

    James Conner is no L Bell. Conner hasn’t been the same since his injury/cancer. Hopefully, he gets back to where he was before the injury, but he still wouldn’t be nearly as valuable as Bell.When Bell goes, I think they’ll have Conner & another back splitting carries.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Potential 2500 yard back my arse.

  • Mr. Goodkat

    What you or anyone else in America or the World makes is absolutely irrelevant.

    Come on, don’t seriously play that “he should just be thankful to get paid so much to play a game” card. Both the Steelers and the NFL make a buttload of money. Never blame these guys for trying to get their fair slice of that pie.

  • Conserv_58

    Bell’s loss is Tuitt’s and AV’s gain.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    I disagree. I think top picks are qb, safety and tight end.

  • TsarPepe

    Schefter was right again…

  • SilverSteel

    Huh?? I never said he should just be thankful. 20 mil is a long long way from saying that….for one year no less w/ signing bonus. Are you serious?

  • LucasY59

    long term deal…

    the rumors are that the Steelers offered a deal that averaged more than the tag, so 12+mil,

    the shortest a long term deal is going to be is 4 yrs so thats 48mil not 20, there is almost no chance he doesnt get throught the 1st yr of the deal (and probably the 2nd) so if he got a 8 mil signing bonus (which is just a guess) he is going to get at least 26 mil in those 2 yrs with the Steelers offer (probably closer to 28 or 30) it might not say guaranteed, but the dead $ and base salaries would be high enough that it is pretty close to being guaranteed at least until they are halfway through the contract

  • Mr. Goodkat

    Closer to $14M I believe. Even if it was $16M though, if you had the free cap space, you wouldn’t pay him that for 1 year? IMO he only isn’t worth $10M+ when you have to start dismantling the team in order to pay him that much.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    I have desheas.

  • LucasY59

    total combined yds, I am hoping that is the minimum

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    I agree at the same time I kinda figured they wasn’t/or I didn’t them to sign him to a huge contract (not saying he isn’t worth it) due to the fact that they really can’t trust him to be drug free or healthy for a full season yet If I was gm I’ll tag him next yr too if he remains healthy or really staying out of trouble by that time Ben may have hung up his cleats clearing a lot of cap room then by all means pay the man then turn around and I’ll do the same for martavious at least he’ll bare witness to him and bells actions having a cause and effect

  • WreckIess

    You can’t really say that without actually seeing the contract details. You don’t know how much they tried to put into injury incentives, how much they were actually guaranteeing him, how much he would’ve actually made first year or how much the signing bonus actually was. From the way it sounded, it was a pretty safe contract for the team, but there were no signs of good faith given to Bell. Fair for both sides to want some security, but also fair for the team not to be willing to give in to Bell after his past transgressions.

  • Guillermo Garcia-Gomez

    I agree. If he says he’ll play in 2018 then it’s worth it to pay Bell because that would mean the window is still open. If Ben quits after this year then just let Bell go too because they’d be an 8 win team anyways.

  • JohnnyFootball

    LOL at 8m signing bonus. Or “probably” seeing year 2. “Probably” and 75 cents will get you a cup of coffee.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    NO.

  • Mr. Goodkat

    How is that not the same as what you said? You said he should take the deal because its “an a**load of cash to get in one year” and “would last most people their whole lifetime”.

    That implies he should have accepted it because of its relevance of the compensation and life situations of you and others in the world. None of that is relevant. The company that he works for generates wayyyy more revenue than any of us do. He wants his fair share of that, just as you expect to be compensated fairly based on the value you provide to whoever pays you. The only other salaries/situations that are relevant are those associated with the NFL, or other similar companies.

    Sorry if it seems personal (it doesn’t sound like you were intentionally making that point). but I’m so sick of that card being played against only the athletes. Yes, they get paid an OBSCENE amount. But that is only because the league makes an even more obscene amount off their talent in a given year.

  • LucasY59

    I think it was pretty safe for Bell, all he needed to do was not get suspended and he would most likely play out the entire contract, I think he just overvalues himself and wanted more than 12mil/yr

    my main point with the structure is that the team has the cap space this yr to take the full 12 mill cap hit so they didnt need to offer a big signing bonus that would carryover into future yrs cap costs,

    so I think they offered the correct deal for them and not guaranteeing a lot is also a wise move on their part since Bell has not been able to be counted on so far in his career, I get that it might make Bell leery of signing without guarantees, but some of that is on him and he has to live up to it, if it was just the injury stuff that the team was worried about they would probably give more guarantees, but because of his decisions they had to factor in the suspension risk as well

  • Andrew Norwood

    Maybe, maybe not. Significant injuries like he has had will catch up to him sooner rather than later. Another bad injury this year and he just threw away $36M over the next 3 years (reportedly?) for how much? He is betting on himself and his health. It’s very risky at this point. I’m glad the Steelers FO stood their ground.

  • SilverSteel

    Forgot about him, he wasn’t bad.

  • SilverSteel

    I was thinking that same thing today. Is he going to give 100% if he feels slighted?

  • Andrew Norwood

    $12M for this season is nothing to sneeze at. But he better do a helluva lot more saving than spending until he gets that big contract that he just turned down. He’s a damn good player. But a Willis McGahee type injury is just 1 play away.

  • Mr. Goodkat

    Hypothetical: You have $16M in cap space next offseason after you sign your rookies, FA’s, and do any longterm deals.

    You seriously wouldn’t give Bell $14M or whatever the tag is next year? If not, boy am I glad you aren’t the GM.

  • SilverSteel

    Yeah, if we lose Bell next season and it looks we are going to, we will also lose Ben. He’s not going to stick around without all his weapons. We relied heavily on the RB position this year when Ben was laying an egg.

  • SilverSteel

    When you put it that way, that blows!

  • LucasY59

    why wouldnt he see the 2nd yr??? only reason would be suspension and that would be on him, the Steelers arent going to eat dead $ that early in a contract unless there is a significant (career ending) injury something like the Green situation or Bell has f’d up and is in a Bryant type situation

    if they are giving him close to 12mil in a base salary in 2017 then that is essentially a guaranteed contract for that amount plus any signing bonus, and so that makes 20 mil “guaranteed” which is a lot of $$$ to “lol” at… if he plays the 2nd yr he has made close to 30 in 2 yrs (which is the STUPID 15 mil he wanted)

    im not being bitter, I want Bell to do well this yr and will wish the best for him, but I think it was an absolute mistake for him to decline the contract offered

  • LucasY59

    20 mil seems like a pretty fair share

  • WreckIess

    Sure they didn’t have to give him a big signing bonus, but if they’re not giving him that or a lot of guaranteed money there’s just not a lot of security for him. I get that a lot of that is on him, but that’s why it’s fair for both sides. They didn’t feel comfortable with giving him guarantees or a big signing bonus and he thinks his play warrents one of those things.

  • Michael Conrad

    I agree. Running backs don’t have the value they once did.

  • Mr. Goodkat

    Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. People who spent a lot more time than me studying the numbers get paid to determine and negotiate that. But that wasn’t the point he made…

  • ND_Steel

    Yes they are. Did his position, injuries and suspensions all factor more into what they deemed as fair (more than just his on field production)? I couldn’t blame them if they did.

  • SilverSteel

    So, you accuse me of making a silly statement earlier (about him not taking 20 mil/w SB for the first year if it was offered) and now you agree with it? Ok…. Make up your mind. That’s just being argumentative. Not that I haven’t come to expect that at times on this site

  • LucasY59

    the deal gives him 12+mil per, even if it isnt structured as guaranteed $ the first 2 yrs of the deal are most likely going to be paid no matter what and that would = at least 24 mil (more like 30)

    the problem with guaranteed $ is that it is usually included in a signing bonus which gets stretched into the future yrs of the the deal and with a player like Bell where there is some legit longevity concerns both fair (suspension) and unfair (injury) I think the way they structured it was pretty fair to both sides *and the reason he didnt sign was due to him wanting more $$$

  • ND_Steel

    Opinion of Bell go down at all?

  • LucasY59

    most RBs dont even make 6-8 mil anymore and 20 is the total on a long contract, he would be making close to that in one yr

  • pittsburghjoe

    Mike Lange will say at the end of the year… “He was beaten like a rented mule”.

  • Mr. Goodkat

    Your statement about him not accepting the offered deal was not silly.

    Your reasoning for why he should have was a silly way of looking at a contract negotiations in a league that made $10B+ in revenue last year.

  • SilverSteel

    Ok I get it now. I did put a $ amount on it though – 20 mil. When I saw the Emmit Smith deal mentioned earlier, it put it all in perspective. That was not that long ago for the increases we are seeing.

  • nutty32

    ok. that makes sense but still doesn’t compensate him for that 3rd yr fairly where he could/should be getting another strong bonus/guarantee. guess the problem is that the usual way to deal with tags Is to pay 20% over the tag but doesnt make sense here due to rb devaluation.

  • Michael Conrad

    Let him go. Draft a running back next year he has had four major injuries in four years. Foot ,Groin,and two knee injuries. I agree he is special when healthy but five years in the NFL for a running back is more then most last and after seven you are not going to keep him at 14 million a year or some crazy amount.

  • SilverSteel

    Ok, I accept that.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    I agree I think it’s a win-win situation

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Good points by Goodkat.

    As an NFL owner you have to ask yourself, “What’s the best way to spend $14 million in cap space next year?”

    Would we be a better team by using that $14+ million to sign a franchise caliber CB and then draft a top RB in the 1st or 2nd round?

    Would our elite OL be able to get elite production from a different RB?

    Is Bell going to have a relapse with the weed suspension?

    Can Bell stay healthy for a whole year?

    If Ben retires, does that allow us the cap space to sign Bell anyways and take the burden off our rookie QB?

    Obviously, the Rooneys felt there were too many questions (or too many factors in play) to guarantee Bell that kind of money this year.

    I don’t necessarily agree that Bell is replaceable. I think he is better than any RB we could draft or acquire. The question is how much better?

  • Steve Johnson

    Yep, he gone!

  • Steve Johnson

    14.3M, some where in that range. Steelers aren’t going to pay him that kind of money. This will be his last year for sure.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    and if another team steps up wouldn’t they have to give up two 1st rd picks for him and even then wouldn’t we have the option to match what they offer him?

  • Mr. Goodkat

    Not saying I’d pay him that. But he is one of the what? Top 20? players in the league? If someone says he’s worth more than that, I’m not inclined to argue.

    The issue is fitting him under the cap at such a number on a super bowl contending team. Not his value to the league or other teams within it. The 49ers/Browns/Jags/etc… would love a chance to pay a Top 20 player $15M annually if they get it.

  • Paddy

    First he smokes boo, suspension, then multiple injuries, misses May practices. Wise move by the team to not offer him a monster contract.

  • Mr. Goodkat

    I get your point. Wasn’t trying to get personal. Just frustrates me when people don’t realize how much revenue the league generates. Goodell made $30M+ last year. Again, not saying he doesn’t deserve that as the commish, but I am all for the players trying to get as big a piece of the pie as they can. Unfortunately, with the salary cap, that leads to these types of situations where you’re rooting for both the player and your team.

  • Mr. Goodkat

    *internet high-five*

  • SilverSteel

    What, Goddell made 30 mil? Ok, now I am depressed.

  • Ed Smith

    FAIR slice of the pie?? His next closest contact comp is 33% lower than the offer. He’d be making 50% more than the next RB in the NFL. What about that seems “fair” to you. (Must be a Bernie Sanders’ type)

  • nutty32

    “Since when is 20 mil not an assload of cash”

    When stacked up next to 26 mil.

  • dany

    Well then the steelers save some money by not using the franchise tag. And if someone is desperate, 2 first round picks. This year that would have been a bad idea, next I’m all for it

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    If that’s true, I’m very pleased that Bell refused to sign.

  • PaeperCup

    I think SS is saying 20 Mil is a lot even for those in his line of work.

  • John Pennington

    Steelers should have seen this coming and should have been ready for this and for his holdout.Move forward with the players you have and keep looking for help.

  • T3xassteelers

    *clap clap clap* deep in the heart of Texas!

  • T3xassteelers

    A deal will happen next year. I hope Bell is even more motivated and sets all time NFL records. Watch out…. of course with a trophy at hand 🙂

  • walter

    Dave I dont know if this has been asked but would the Steelers save money by using the non-exclusive franchise tag in 2018? It doesnt seem like such a bad idea considering we could receive 2 first round picks.

  • Ed Smith

    Yes you did!

  • Kevin Schwartz

    Damn, Bell is my favorite player on the team, and the only jersey I’ve ever owned. It’s his right to negotiate, I just would really like him to be a Steelers lifer. I think people forget how good he is, as well as the fact that he seems like a ridiculously hard worker. I wish him well – and, I hope we don’t just run his wheels off and use him up.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Hell no.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    For the best back in the league who plays a average of 75% of the games it may become sketchy what to pay him. I have a feeling he will not be in the league for more then 4 years anyways so my thoughts are offer him around 36M for 4 years 20M guaranteed and give incentives for playing in all 16 games and producing where he could make 2M more a year or so.

  • Terrible Towlie

    god damn Loch Ness Monster….

  • Mr. Goodkat

    His answer to the hypothetical tells you there’s no reasoning with him on the subject. Moving along…

  • RickM

    Well, we have him at 25 and can also tag him at 26 if we want . He’ll be 27 1/2 when he plays his first game in 2019 with another team and he’ll be entering his 7th year as an NFL RB. It’s pretty certain that whoever signs him will begin to experience diminishing returns based on the workload he carries. I’m disappointed a little, but in the long run I’m not sure it will hurt us that much.

  • Mr. Goodkat

    Going to ignore the politics because your snipe doesn’t even make sense. Shady’s deal was signed in 2015. Of course Bell is going to make more. He’s also younger & far better. So the only question is how much more? In a vaccuum (based on your politics insight I don’t have much confidence in you understanding this concept) I feel very good about saying Bell is worth 50% more than Shady. Bills fans would likely agree, and they love McCoy. Bell will (and should) reset the RB market (just not likely in the ‘Burgh). If somehow he doesn’t DJ in Pittsburgh West will.

    All that being said, I think its asinine to pay RB’s more than $8-10M per year (long term) if youre building a Super Bowl contending team. But someone will break the bank on him, in a year or two, and based on his play/impact I’m not inclined to say he doesn’t deserve it.

  • Mr. Goodkat

    To be fair, L. Bell wasn’t L. Bell when he was drafted. He dropped about 20lbs, got shredded, and changed his game up a bit. He wasn’t ever (/isnt) the fastest or the quickest. He has amazing vision, great hands, and works his butt off in and off season.

    I’m not saying J. Connor will ever be Bell, but keep in mind he spent half of last year still recovering. He could already be better/healthier in camp than he was all of last year. And he too has the heart on and off the field. He’s more than just a guy with a good story. Hopefully much more (especially now!).

  • will

    LOL

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Epic fail all around caused by greed.