The Pittsburgh Steelers and Le’veon Bell were not able to reach an agreement on a long-term deal, meaning Bell will play out this season on his franchise tag worth $14.5 million.
The NFL off-season was highlighted by the intriguing on-going talks about whether or not the Steelers and Le’Veon would reach a long-term deal. Well, as previously mentioned, they were not able to. According to Ian Rapoport, the final offer from the Steelers was 5-years, $70 million with $30 million in the first 2 years. You can see why Le’veon didn’t take it because that’s an annual average of $14 million, which is less than what his franchise tag is worth. So what does that mean going forward? Well, one thing is almost for certain and that is that this will be Le’Veon’s last season in Pittsburgh and he’ll hit the market next off-season.
Le’veon had this to say on twitter following the decision:
Le’Veon has wanted to set a new trend for running backs when it comes to money and long-term deals. He still has the ability to do that but it won’t happen right now. The running back has been in Pittsburgh for all 5 of his years in the NFL and has become one of if not the best running back in the NFL. He’s rushed for 1,200+ yards in back-to-back seasons and has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark 3 times in 5 years. Not only does he rack up a lot of yards but he can score touchdowns, a lot of them. He’s had 7+ rushing touchdowns in 4 of his 5 seasons and the only reason he didn’t get it in 2015 was that he only played in 6 games.
Bell is much more than just a rushing running back, which adds a lot of value to his game. He’s a great receiving back. He’s had 600+ receiving yards and 75+ receptions in back-to-back seasons and he had one year in 2014 where he had 854 receiving yards.
According to ESPN, his 7,996 total yards through 62 career games is the most of any NFL player during that time frame since 1970.
Le’Veon will have to wait until next year to potentially get that huge contract. It is worth knowing that he will be 27 in February of next year which is young, but considered older for a running back. It was also noted by Rapoport that he will most likely not be in a hurry to show up to camp, most likely showing up late.
Picture: Le’Veon Bell