Contracts aren’t easy in any sports, and football is no exception. Sure, it may seem easy if you’re tagging your team in angry tweets based on your extensive experience from signing players to long-term deals in Madden, but maybe it’s time to just watch Sports Center for the 15th time instead of pretending like it’s a simple task.
It’s understandable to have complications during contract negotiations which may get messy, but it takes a truly skillful team to mismanage a situation the way the Pittsburgh Steelers are with Le’Veon Bell and his hold out.
Heading into the offseason, the Steelers did have a tough situation on their hands. While you love having fantastic players on your team, you don’t always love paying them, something they clearly had to do with Le’Veon Bell now that his contract was up.
We’ve seen the team take a bit too long to pay their stars in the past like they did with Antonio Brown, but the team decided it was easiest to slap the franchise tag on Bell that would pay him $12.1 million next season. When you’re the best back in football, that’s not enough. Once the deadline for the extension passed, that led to the Bell holdout.
Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell will report back to team before regular season kicks off, though it remains unclear exactly when, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 17, 2017
It wasn’t until Bell held out that the Steelers started doing their best impression of the Knicks and turned into a complete dumpster fire.
The minute Le’Veon Bell turned down the Steelers last offer, they transformed from a respectable football franchise into Ben Stiller’s wife in “The Heartbreak Kid”. Did Bell sort of lead them on by reportedly turning down a deal last minute just like Stiller did when he tried to dump his wife on his honeymoon? Sure. The Steelers still then proceeded to do nothing but bash their running back.
Report: Le'Veon Bell rejected July offer after agent agreed to terms https://t.co/R3iEYVMfWy
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) August 18, 2017
Instead of trying to get him onto the field and convincing him the hold out is only hurting the team that is desperately trying to figure out how to take down New England, they’ve complained about how shocked they were that Bell wanted more money, portraying him as a player who only cares about himself and not the team.
There’s no other reason why the team would’ve said Le’Veon turned down an offer that wasn’t even there to begin with.
Le'Veon Bell's agent Adisa Bakari said he and client never had any agreement with Steelers. "All stories to contrary are false," he said.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 18, 2017
How else would this come across? There’s no way the Steelers did this for any other reason than to make Bell look like the shit emoji wearing a Pittsburgh jersey throughout the season. He seems greedy and self-centered claiming he wants to be the highest paid running back in the league instead of taking their “generous” offer.
The problem isn’t that the Steelers didn’t give Bell the deal he wanted. It’s the fact that they tried to make it seem like they’re the victims for not having their running back sign for a hometown discount. Being a billion-dollar franchise that is trying to come off as the ones who are suffering because their running back wanted three million more dollars a year is like painting using a rock. Sure the outline is there, but you sure as shit aren’t calling that painting Mona Lisa.
In defense of the Steelers, it isn’t exactly a cut and dry situation with Le’Veon Bell. It’s not like they’re paying him peanuts. He’s still getting $12 million per year with the tag. His family will still eat and he’ll still be one of the highest paid running backs in the league, at least for a year. Bell has also missed a ton of time throughout his career.
Two years ago he played only 16 games after sitting out the rest of the season with a torn ACL, and has been suspended for smoking pot not once but twice. He even missed some of his tests and blamed one by saying he was sleeping or wasn’t around his phone. That’s the kind of shit you say to the girl you’re with when you just want to be alone for a bit.
He’s not easy to deal with and hasn’t played a full season since 2014. Then again, just take a quick peek at this man’s stats and you can realize he’s worth it.
In two of his past three NFL seasons, Le'Veon Bell has rushed for a minimum of 1,200 yards and accrued at least 75 receptions for 600 yards.
— Cory Evans (@CoryEvansNFL) August 18, 2017
Why in the world wouldn’t Bell want a bigger deal? He regularly puts up gaudy numbers when he isn’t doing impersonating Cheech and Chong and is expected to have his best year yet now that he’s expected to play every game this season. It couldn’t be more clear how important he is to this team and will likely be the team’s best chance to take down the Patriots this season in the postseason. Yet they still treat him like trash.
All the Steelers are doing is hurting themselves for the future. Bell may not be getting his long contract he wants, but he gets to show up from September to January and make $12 million after sitting out of training camp. That’s not a bad gig. Then he hits the open market as a free agent while teams desperate for that kind of talent throw money at him unless the Steelers cave with an extension, or decide to do this whole thing again except for more money by tagging him in 2018.
Digging themselves a hole for the future while making themselves look like petty fools is a new low for the Steelers. This is the Cleveland Browns of negotiations.