Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers and running back Le’Veon Bell failed to come to terms on a long-term extension prior to Monday’s deadline, the star is going to be a training camp holdout. It’s the second consecutive year that Bell will miss training camp and likely all of the preseason.
It’s also led to speculation that Bell might very well be willing to take this holdout through Pittsburgh’s regular season opener against the division-rival Cleveland Browns.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, that’s unlikely to happen.
I’m told Le’Veon Bell‘s tentative plan is to miss Steelers training camp but be ready for the regular season, and that missing games over the contract would be a shock. The Steelers also expect him to play a full season. Bell still has time to consider all options, though.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) July 17, 2018
Bell, 26, was handed the franchise tag for the second consecutive year this past March. He’s slated to earn $14.54 million under said tag. The All-Pro also reportedly turned down a five-year, $70 million extension offer from Pittsburgh leading up to Monday’s deadline.
Some will conclude that Bell is not being a team player. That he should have taken what would have been a record-breaking contract for a running back.
While that might very well be true, the devaluation of do-it-all players at this position is the larger issue. Based on that contract offer, Pittsburgh is valuing Bell as 23rd highest-paid quarterback in the NFL.
Can anyone reasonably conclude that there are 22 more valuable players at quarterback than what Bell does in the backfield for Pittsburgh? After all, here’s a dude that’s put up 3,830 total yards and 20 touchdowns over the past two seasons.
As it is, Bell could still very well decide to holdout through Week 1. The issue here is that it would cost him north of $1 million per game in salary plus fines. Obviously, Bell doesn’t want to lose out on that cold hard cash.