Last year, All-Pro running back, Le’Veon Bell made headlines when he did not sign his Franchise Tender at Pittsburgh Steelers headquarters for the coming season. His decision to not play and sit for the reason came as a shock to his fans and almost everyone. It seems that Bell won’t be playing for the next 10 games in 2018.
Almost everyone, including the NFL, has been optimistic about the negotiations. They had hoped to put a franchise tag on him, which would eventually have led to signing a contract. If Le’Veon Bell has gone ahead and signed the contract, he would have been the highest paid running back in the game the previous season. But Bell did not show up in the games. He was not willing to stand down from his original offer.
When we consider the action that had been happening, Bell’s inaction wasn’t all that surprising. Bell had been losing out on $850,000 per week, for all the time he delayed signing his contract. Yet, he still delayed it.
That has been a good indication of what was to come. There were many who were optimistically hoping that we would sign a contract after all.
By not playing this season, Bell did not break any law. Since he did not sign the contract, he was not obligated to play. But he did break the rules. It’s not often that players sit back on the season over a disagreement on their franchise tags.
The question right now is whether the decision to sit out was a wise one? To answer this, let’s review what it could mean for Le’Veon Bell.
Why Did Le’Veon Bell Choose Not To Play
The biggest factor in the equation is money. By not playing, Bell lost $7.7 million this season, and the figure would go higher than that. The Pittsburgh Steelers had offered to pay him $14.5 million for the season but Bell chose not to accept.
For some, this might look like a big figure and for many it is. Where an average household would be stressing out if their car wasn’t on 0% APR rate, it is pocket change for a player like him. Ah, the perks of being a celebrated NFL player.
Despite the millions that he lost, many are still applauding Bell for this move. This includes Steve Smith of NFL Network. He argues that by sitting out this year, Bell can now enter as a free agent by spring. This might or might not happen. The Steelers could still franchise him for the third year. The chances for that are slim. If they did franchise him for the third year, they will have to pay him a quarterback’s salary which will amount to a whopping $25 million per year. There’s little chance of NFL doing that.
There’s a high likelihood that NFL will replace Bill with James Conner, who ranks third in the NFL rushing yards with a score of 771 and 10 rushing touchdowns.
NFL players put in a lot of effort. With Bell chose not to play, he also ensured his personal safety for the season. By removing himself from the game, he removed the risk of any serious on-field injury. Injuries on the field can often put a serious damper of the career of any sports player. You might remember Mack Strong. In 2007, Strong’s career came to end after suffering from a herniated disk that affected his spinal cord.
By not playing, Bell has also given himself an upper-hand. If he has played this season, the NFL would probably have exhausted him to his end. The next year, we would have been replaced by a younger player, James Conner.
How Bell’s Decision Affected His Team
Bell’s decision to not play has also surprised his fellow teammates. They expected him to show up after some negotiations. However, when he didn’t show up for the games, it created friction with him team. Players like Center Maurkice Pouncey and Guard Ramon Foster called his decision selfish. However, that’s now in the past. They are willing to welcome him back to the point and forgo their previous emotions to work as a team in the future.
The big question is, will his old team really welcome him after his ditching in the last minute. Would the NFL be willing to offer the same position back to the player? We can’t answer that. It would have been much easier if the Steelers had won the Super Bowl victory. With a victory in the picture, the Steelers would have been in a more forgiving mood. Right now it seems that the Steelers won’t be much willing to sign a deal Le’Veon Bell. NFL fans are waiting to see what happens next. Will we see Bell playing again with the Steelers?