Pittsburgh Steelers rumors are already starting to revolve around Le’Veon Bell and his pending free agency. Bell is the MVP for the Steelers again this year, despite missing the first three games of the 2016 NFL season due to a suspension. That alone shows how important he is to the success, as well as the future, of the franchise. A report by ESPN was just released that has Bell stating he wants to remain with the Steelers. It’s not a surprising statement as the team prepares for the 2017 NFL Playoffs, but will the franchise offer him a long-term deal that satisfies Bell?
“I want to be a Pittsburgh Steeler. We’re going to try to do whatever it takes to make that happen. That I haven’t even played the full season this year coming off injury and suspension and they still voted me the team’s MVP means everything in the world to me. Those guys know I’ve overcame a lot of obstacles, they know the things I went through with social media and people on the outside, whatever it was, overcoming my knee in training, I think those guys respect the way I handled myself over the course of this year.”
Right now, Le’Veon Bell is saying all the right things, not only generating positive buzz with the Pittsburgh Steelers but also with fans and NFL analysts. It’s going to be a tricky situation when free agency begins and Bell is no longer under contract with the team. In four seasons and only 47 games with the Steelers, Bell has posted 4,045 rushing yards, 2,005 receiving yards, and 31 total touchdowns. That includes 227 receptions, giving the Steelers a huge weapon on offense.
Though the life expectancy of an NFL running back isn’t very long, Le’Veon Bell won’t turn 25 until February. This nearly guarantees several more elite level years for Bell, which would be very helpful as the Steelers continue to compete against an improving AFC North division. Bell will likely get a spot on the AFC Pro Bowl team again this season as well, which could also add a few more dollars to his new contract.
If the Steelers can make it deep into the 2017 NFL Playoffs and possibly even win another Super Bowl, his signing bonus might just go through the roof. That could be a huge component to the deal, as Bell has not made a lot of money in his NFL career when compared to the salaries of some of the other top running backs in the game. Coming out of college, Bell signed a four-year, $4,120,600 contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers. That included a $1,376,800 signing bonus, $2,276,800 in guaranteed money, and worked out to an average annual salary of $1,030,150.
There are going to be a lot of Pittsburgh Steelers rumors about Bell and other players on the roster who are about to become free agents. For Bell, the team has a way to keep him on the roster, even if the two sides cannot come to terms on a new deal. The Steelers can apply the franchise tag to one player each NFL offseason and that would be a good move by the team if the only alternative is to lose Bell to another franchise.
The franchise tag is typically frowned upon by many players, as most want a long-term deal and safety net, but it’s an advantageous move for NFL teams. It is thought that the franchise tag will be worth about $12.37 million for the 2017 NFL season.
So how much would a player like Le’Veon Bell be worth on the open market? It’s possible that he could receive the richest contract offer for a running back in the history of the NFL. As previous Pittsburgh Steelers rumors have already hinted at, it’s also possible that the franchise could offer him a deal like that in order to lock him up long-term and present a lot of good will in the process.
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