Things are reaching a boiling point for Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell following failed contract negotiations before the July 17 deadline. Currently, Bell has not signed his franchise tender and may hold out of training camp.
NFL Network’s Ike Taylor has the inside scoop on why the two sides weren’t able to make it work. He said that Bell told him he wants to be paid like “a No. 1 running back and No. 2 wide receiver.”
"I want to be paid as No. 1 RB & No. 2 WR." – Le'Veon Bell to @Ike_SwagginU
Will he be a training camp holdout? pic.twitter.com/cgZtLmOf7n
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) July 20, 2017
That would be a contract like none other in currently in the league. Bell reportedly turned down $12-plus million per season on a five-year offer. That kind of pay would have easily made Bell the highest-paid running back in the league. Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy is currently at the top earning an average of $8 million per year.
Granted, Bell possesses an elite skill set and tallied a hefty 75 receptions for 616 yards in 12 games last year — good for No. 2 behind Antonio Brown. So that’s where he reasoning comes from about his worth. He also rushed for 1,268 yards, averaging 4.9 yards per attempt while scoring a total of nine touchdowns.
Keep in mind also that Bell has dealt with injuries and off-field issues, which might have also been a big hang-up in negotiations.
Bell will get paid, but it might be with a different team in 2018. Though, that might be a stretch considering Pittsburgh’s reliance on the running back. We don’t see him being able to earn quarterback pay, either, which is what fellow running back David Johnson would love to see.
For now, a potential holdout seems possible, and it’s going to be interesting to see how this story develops in the coming weeks.