Le’Veon Bell: Greedy or Misunderstood?

Over the last two off seasons there has been a constant stream from the media regarding Le’Veon Bell‘s contract situation. For many fans like myself, this dialogue within the media is frustrating and despite what Bell may think almost nobody within the Steelers fanbase would actually like to see him in another uniform, all of the drama has become a major turn off, which many fans tend to blame Bell for.

Any casual football fan would see this as stupid on the Steelers part due to the fact that Bell is arguably the best Running Back in the league. The phrase “just pay him” is very popular among these fans. But it is far more complicated than simply “just paying him”. The Steelers struggle yearly to stay below the salary cap and adding another large contract to their team could be very problematic. Currently the Steelers are paying Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger a combined $38.8 Million, if the Steelers were to pay Bell the $17 Million that he wants they would be allocating almost $60 Million of the $177 Million Cap to only 3 players. This does not include other high dollar contracts such as Joe Haden, Stephon Tuitt, Cam Heyward and David DeCastro which would raise the total for those 7 players to around $100 Million. Therefore it is easy to see how the Steelers are struggling to commit to another high dollar contract, especially when the next highest paid running back (Devonta Freeman) behind Bell only makes $8.25 Million. Having so many high paid players has carries the possibility of hurting the team in the long run like we have seen through the struggle to find an elite replacement for Shazier.

From Bell’s perspective it is not crazy for him to want Antonio Brown money. Bell actually accounts for more offense than Brown so from a personal perspective he is not out of his bounds for wanting more money than the running back market suggests, Bell wants to make his money just like everyone else. I have been very harsh on Bell’s methods but a world where Sam Bradford makes $20 million and Le’Veon Bell only makes $10-13 Million is 100% wrong. What Bell needs to understand is, from a fan’s perspective all that matters is wins and when contracts in the millions of dollars per year are being rejected people will inevitably be calling you greedy. I personally do not believe Bell is greedy. I believe he deserves to be paid what he his asking, there is no doubt he is a very productive player, but for the Steelers their best move may be to let someone else pay him. If they do sign him they should attempt to keep all of the guaranteed money in the front end of the deal. Running Backs tend to struggle with their health once they get close to age 30, especially one with the workload of Bell. Adrian Peterson is the perfect example of this. Signing a Running Back to a long term deal will always come with skepticism whether he is named Le’Veon Bell or not, it isn’t anything personal when people are critical of Bell it is only the nature of the position. This entire situation has become more messy than anyone would have wanted, and it all revolves around Le’Veon Bell being very misunderstood by a majority of fans and media.

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