Le’Veon Bell was a dominant running back when he was with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2013-2017. He was a major factor behind turning a team that was 0-4 into one that nearly won 10 straight games to reach the postseason. He amassed First Team All-Pro Honors in 2014 and 2017, while setting and then resetting the Steelers playoff rushing records in consecutive games in 2016.
Did Bell earn the right to negotiate for a large contract? Yes.
Should Bell have been paid what he wanted? No.
But that’s not the way he saw it as he posted in a Tweet recently.
they should’ve paid me what I wanted when they had the chance https://t.co/KevLxrwsK2
— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) May 27, 2021
Le’Veon Bell admitted to nearly returning to the Steelers for a 5-year, $70M deal following the 2017 season, but opted to sit out instead. He was focused on his guaranteed money – which the Steelers only “guaranteed money” being in the form of a $10M signing bonus. However, it also had $33M paid out in the first two seasons, which would have been such a massive cap hit for the Steelers if they would have cut him that they were better off retaining his services.
Instead, Bell wanted it all. He sat out the 2018 season when the Steelers franchise tagged him a 2nd time – costing him $14.5M. He signed with the New York Jets for a 4-year, $52M deal with $35M “guaranteed” – which is ironic as he never collected most of his “guaranteed” money. He collected only $14.4M before being cut by the Jets, who accepted the cap hit and moved on instead. Consider, all that he held out for, he made less than what would have been guaranteed by the 2018 franchise tag with the Steelers.
That’s not accounting for New Jersey/New York State income taxes, which are significantly higher than Pennsylvania.
All Bell had to do was start for the Steelers for three seasons and he would have pocketed $45M. Instead, he wound up with a little over $21M after he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs for $700K. Given the brashness of his comments, one has to wonder if he didn’t recognize that was a non-factor on a team that emphasized offense.
Now Bell is complaining that he should have been paid what he wanted…but for what? 863 yards rushing in 17 games with the Jets?
And he blames the Jets and Adam Gase for his lack of production with the Jets. Valid or not, beware what you wish for Le’Veon, because you might just get it.
Bell pointed out to a fan: “lol so I had elite talent alllllll the way up until 2017 …… and then just [fell] off a cliff huh? Okay.”
Maybe Bell was right, but 2017 was four years ago, and there is no reason to believe you’ve got elite talent now.
The likely problem is that Bell is stuck in an echo chamber full of yes men and idiots if they can’t tell him no one is going to offer a 30-year old RB a massive contract. And nobody with common sense is going to agree with him.
Perhaps Bell should listen to his 2019 “past self” when talking about resigning with Pittsburgh: “I was so close. I almost signed it.“
100% of nothing is nothing Le’Veon.
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