The Pittsburgh Steelers and star running back Le’Veon Bell were unable to come to terms on a long-term contract prior to Monday afternoon’s deadline. This means that Bell will play under the franchise tag tender (should he sign it) in 2017.
For Bell, it has to be a bitter pill to swallow. Here’s a guy that tallied nearly 1,900 total yards in 12 games last season. He’s now set to make $12.1 million on a one-year deal this upcoming season.
Needless to say, that’s not the long-term commitment Bell was looking for from Pittsburgh. In keeping with this theme, Bell took to social media Monday evening to speak out about the lack of a long-term deal. It’s his first comments since the deadline for a new contract passed.
I guess I just gotta get better…
— Le'Veon Bell (@L_Bell26) July 17, 2017
One might say this was very well tongue-in-cheek on Bell’s part. He’s considered one of the most complete running backs in the game. And there’s not another player at his position that has as much of a role on offense as what we saw from Bell last year in Pittsburgh.
There’s a lot of complexities here, including the three-game suspension Bell received for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy last season. The market for running backs has already taken a hit in recent years. Add in those off-field issues, and it’s apparent Pittsburgh doesn’t want to dole out a huge amount of guaranteed cash to Bell.
Whether this creates drama heading into the 2017 campaign remains to be seen. What we do know is that Bell himself is not happy playing under a one-year deal and the Steelers don’t seem to be in a huge rush to guarantee him anything over the long haul.