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Report: Le’Veon Bell wants $15 million per year

Le'Veon Bell
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

As the Pittsburgh Steelers await the return of holdout running back Le’Veon Bell, new information has emerged about why no long-term deal occurred this summer.

According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers and Bell’s agent agreed on a deal before the July 17 deadline.

“The five-year deal, according to sources, averaged more than $12 million annually. While it could not be determined how much signing bonus or guaranteed money was included in that, the sources said it would have paid more than $30 million in the first two years.”

But Bell nixed the deal. Why would he shoot down an offer that would have made him (by far) the richest running back in the NFL?

“The sources told the Post-Gazette that Bell wants an average of $15 million. One year ago, he recorded a rap song titled ‘Focus’ which included the lyrics, ‘I’m at the top, and if not, I’m the closest. I’m a need 15 a year and they know this.’”

This falls in line with a report we covered leading up to the deadline which indicated Bell wanted to be paid like a top running back and a No. 2 receiver.

On one hand, it’s not hard to understand why Bell would want that kind of cash. He’s an elite playmaker who’s put up stats that reflect his desire. He is still young, at the age of 25, and is just now entering his prime as an athlete.

On the other hand, Bell is also a guy who’s suffered multiple injuries in his past and who’s already got a couple of strikes against him in the NFL’s drug program.

So it’s easy to understand why the Steelers and Bell are at an impasse. However, it is strange that Bell’s agent would have agreed to a deal his client shot down. Perhaps we’ll learn more about all this in the coming days.

Unfortunately for Bell, that ship has sailed, at least for one season. He has to either play on the $12 million franchise tag this year, or not play at all.

For now, the Steelers just want Bell to come back. The sooner the better. Thankfully, Steelers president Art Rooney II told the Post-Gazette that Bell hasn’t give the team any indication he plans on holding out through the season.