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Former Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell is Making Bold Business Decisions

Jake Giotto ‘22, Sports Writer

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While many of the Pittsburgh Steelers fan base may consider Le’Veon Bell public enemy No. 1, his holdout may not be as selfish as it is being perceived. 

Coming off his most productive season as a Steeler, with 321 carries and 85 receptions, Bell has decided to remain in South Florida rather than return to Pittsburgh for the start of the 2018-19 season. The Steelers and Bell failed to agree to a long-term contract this past July which prompted the Steelers to offer the franchise tag, once again, to the most productive running back over the last four years in the National Football League (“NFL”). 

In 2017, Bell led the league in rushing attempts and receptions for a running back. He had the 10th most receptions in the NFL last year, including receivers and tight-ends. Bell was second in receptions for the Steelers just behind Antonio Brown. Clearly, Bell deserves to be paid as an elite playmaker instead of just premier running back. 

2018 would be Bell’s 6th season in the NFL. The average life-span of a NFL running back is five years. During contract negotiations, Bell sought to secure a long-term contract with more than 30 million dollars in guaranteed money. In Bell’s view, a long-term contract of 60 to 70 million dollars with 30 million in guaranteed money would ensure he is rewarded for his production to this point in his career while providing him with long-term security. 

The Steelers offered the two time 1st team All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler contract to Bell that would pay him guaranteed money in excess of 14.5 million this year had he started the season. But so far, Bell has refused to show up and in result, loses just under one million dollars every Sunday he does not show up. 

This year, Bells franchise tag would pay him the most out of any running back in the league; however, none is guaranteed. 

The team reportedly offered Bell 70 million over 5 years, with only 10 million being guaranteed in the first year. Had Bell decided to accept the franchise tag he would receive 14.5 million. He plans to renegotiate at the end of this year and hopefully sign a long-term deal with a team where he can get the most guaranteed money possible. 

If Bell accepted the contract offer from the Steelers this offseason the Steelers could have released their dual threat running back leaving him with no contract support and only a 10 million dollar signing bonus. In a league where injuries are as frequent as scoring plays, Bell made the best decision. 

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Former Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell is Making Bold Business Decisions