In an era where the running back position has generally been devalued, David Johnson wants to see Le’Veon Bell land a monster contract.
“I hope he gets the deal he deserves,” Johnson said, via Andy Benoit of TheMMQB.com. “I hope it’s going to be the type of deal that cornerbacks get and quarterbacks get.”
The Arizona Cardinals star back has a rather selfish reason for this, as any deal Bell lands would likely set the market for him next year.
Cornerbacks have landed some huge contracts lately. Josh Norman currently is being paid more than any other cornerback in terms of average per year on a non-franchise deal. He’s making $15 million per year in Washington.
Obviously quarterbacks are being paid a lot more than that. Derek Carr currently has set the new market at $25 million per year with the Oakland Raiders, and there are currently 14 NFL passers earning over $20 million per year on average.
The Pittsburgh Steelers running back is currently the only player who was slapped with the franchise tag who has yet to sign. We’re into crunch time as it pertains to a long-term deal being worked out, with the deadline being just one week away on July 17.
The Steelers have made a point of saying they would like to work out a long-term deal with Bell.
If that doesn’t happen, he’ll play out the season with a fully-guaranteed one-year deal worth $12.1 million. Currently, the two highest-paid running backs in football are LeSean McCoy and Jonathan Stewart, who are both earning $8 million per year on average.
So there’s clearly a lot of work to be made up if running backs are going to start making the type of money that cornerbacks and quarterbacks get. And quite honestly, Johnson’s vision here is likely nothing more than a dream. Running backs, even the best ones, are going to continue lagging behind the money positions in today’s pass-happy NFL.