Another start to NFL training camp, and another season on the franchise tag for Le’veon Bell. The Pittsburgh Steelers star running back earned $12.1 million on the franchise tag last year. In 2018, that figure jumps to $14.5 million. After another off-season of deteriorating contract negotiations, Bell sends out this “Bell-istic” type tweet:
You can form your own opinion on this, however if we learned anything from last season, we may not see Bell until week 1. Bell holding out of training camp and working out in Miami again will not bode well for the Steelers. The first three games last year, Bell averaged 60 yards rushing, and 18.7 yards receiving. He scored 1 TD.
To make matters worse for the Steelers, GM Kevin Colbert and Head Coach Mike Tomlin never addressed the running back position in this years draft (Aside from a 5th round pick on NC State’s Jaylen Samuels).
You’re less likely to find a three down back in today’s NFL compared to 10 years ago. Teams have proven that you do not need a workhorse running back to win the Lombardi Trophy. New England Patriots anyone? Even in 2008, when the Steelers defeated the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, little known utility running back Willie Parker only managed 53 yards on 19 carries.
Bell has gone on the record wishing to reinvent the running back market:
The running back market definitely took a hit, and I can’t be the guy who continues to let it take a hit. We do everything: We block, we run, we catch the ball. Our value isn’t where it needs to be. I’m taking it upon myself to open up some eyes and show the position is more valuable. -Le’veon Bell
Bell seems to have some altruistic motivation to hold out of training camp, but in a business where winning is everything, this may be Bell’s last season in a Steeler uniform.
Photo Credit: https://steelerswire.usatoday.com | Twitter.com @LeVeonBell
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