As we get closer to the 4 P.M. deadline for franchise tag players to agree to long-term deals, much of the attention is on Le'Veon Bell.
Right now it looks like the two sides won't reach an agreement before the deadline, but it's expected to go down to the wire.
If the two sides do not reach a deal, Bell is technically not under contract with the team because he has not signed his franchise tender. This means he could hold out as long as he wants before the start of the season.
While Bell might be trying to make a point, he'd be crazy to do this.
Long-term deal or not, Bell is still getting paid this season. If he plays under the franchise tag he will earn $12.1 million this season. That's over $4 million more than the next running back.
I understand the want for stability as a player, but this kind of money is insane. Playing under the franchise tag would allow Bell to sign an even bigger contract next season.
Holding out affects the offense as a whole. It doesn't help the first team when the No. 1 running back isn't on the field during the offseason. It could also make Bell more prone to injuries or setbacks. And as we've seen, that has been a problem in the past.
From the Steelers standpoint, running backs are hard to gauge in the NFL. There is a certain window for the given the nature of the position. They are hesitant to commit long-term and want to see more. It's justified considering Bell has only played 16 games one time in his career.
I want Le'Veon Bell as a #Steelers RB long term too, but he has yet to stay on field 16 games, suspensions, injuries ~ 2017 to prove himself— TerryinSoCal (SCU) (@TerryinSoCalif) February 12, 2017
I'm all about players getting their money, but at some point you've got to take what is in front of you.
Le'Veon Bell is a fantastic talent and if he can prove it once again on the field this season he'll have a big payday coming his way next year.