Pittsburgh Steelers: Breaking down Le’Veon Bell’s contract situation


Le’Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers have less than a week to get a deal done.

The Steelers would like to get a long-term deal with Le’Veon Bell done before July 17th. The NFL moved the deadline back from the 15th to the 17th for franchised players. If a contract extension is unable to be worked out, Bell will be forced to sign his franchise tender for north of 12 million dollars per year.

Let’s look at how the bargaining chips are laid out. By placing the franchise tag on Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers have essentially placed a value on Bell of at least 12 million dollars a year. At the same time, Bell is one of the best backs in the league and will likely want to be one of the highest-paid backs in the league.

His ability to run, catch and block make him one of the most valuable at his position along with stars like Ezekiel Elliot and David Johnson. Bell also has a bargaining chip in that the Steelers will want to get a deal done this year as next year the franchise tag for Bell will be around 120%.

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The Steelers do have some bargaining power as well. They can argue that Bell plays running back and that is a position that is often injured and players aren’t in their prime as long. Bell has also been hurt the first four years of his career. This does not mean that they believe the position is fungible, but it will probably front load his contract and hurt Bell in terms of guaranteed money.

Bell has also been suspended twice from the league for a marijuana DUI and a failed drug test. This can be used as a bargaining chip by the Steelers. Bell will also want the stability of playing on the same team and not having to move to another city.

Le’Veon Bell is 25, and that means he has five years until he is 30. Generally, teams start to lose trust in running backs after the age of 30. This has me thinking that Bell will get a five-year-deal. I also expect his contact to be a bit north of 12 million a year. I am going to guess he gets a five year, 63 million dollar contract extension with most of the guaranteed money in the first two years.

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This would be a good deal for both sides. The Steelers get to keep a top notch back, and Bell gets to stay in the same city and be paid among the highest at his position.