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Le'Veon Bell's Holdout Is a Historic Disaster for Le'Veon Bell

In honor of today's announcement that Le'Veon Bell is not reporting to the Pittsburgh Steelers and therefore is ineligible to play for the entire season, we bring you Mike Tanier's opinion piece on the Bell holdout from last week. He's not a fan of Bell losing a year of prime earning power because of the risk that he might get injured before signing a big free-agent contract elsewhere.

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18 comments, Last at 16 Nov 2018, 5:05pm

4 Re: Le'Veon Bell's Holdout Is a

For any of us, absolutely. For a former NFLer, retiring at 30ish, with the medical expenses they'll need for their lifetime, plus their expected lifestyle? $15M won't cut it for long, not without committing to major lifestyle downgrades.

I think it was Nate Jackson who wrote a good article on Deadspin recently that mentioned how (not) enticing a $75k/yr office job looks to a recently retired player. He also wrote about how team doctors have the job of scotch-taping players together to get them through the season, and how going to a non-team doc afterwards is a hellish, complicated affair in comparison. We're used to it, but they've had the team handling the logistics and paperwork and money their whole lives, which leaves then unprepared for later. The NFL provides health insurance for vested veterans for a paltry 5 years past retirement, but apparently few of them use it, for a slew of reasons.

16 Re: Le'Veon Bell's Holdout Is a

That's the thing. I don't begrudge him wanting to get the maximum amount of money possible, but based on his relatively low career earnings to this point and the fact that the franchise tag would nearly double them, I think he is far better off taking the guaranteed tag along with the risk that he gets seriously injured and either never plays again or doesn't get a big free-agent contract.

2 Re: Le'Veon Bell

Who's going to be the one to make the expensive mistake of giving this guy way too much money? I see a lot of contenders:

WAS: Dan Snyder loves overpriced malcontent veterans like Jerry Jones loves Johnnie Walker Blue.
OAK: Bell comes in asking for $100M guaranteed, Gruden and Davis counteroffer with $250M guaranteed plus a lifetime supply of PF Chang's. Talks break down when Gruden keeps trying to throw in a couple of first-round picks.
BUF: If these idiots can convince themselves that Allen and Peterman are the answer at quarterback, then they can convince themselves that they're a slight upgrade at tailback away from solving their problems on offense.
LAC: Los Angeles will actually notice them for a few days if they sign somebody famous!
NYJ: They've finally shaken off the salary cap hangover from their last ill-advised spending orgy, so they're due for another one.

3 Re: Le'Veon Bell's Holdout Is a Historic Disaster for Le'Veon

Well ... guess the Steelers will keep relying on James Conner. I'm not really surprised this backfired on Bell with Conner just performing so amazingly (Barring that 3 week stretch were the Steelers were looking doomed). Then again, the Steelers offensive line is amazing (Mike Munchak is an awesome coach) and Conner was pretty good back in Pitt (Helps the fact that James Saxon, who was the guy that revitalized Ricky Williams career, made Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson be monster running backs back in KC, and turned Le'Veon into Le'Veon, is the Steelers RB Coach). I'm still interested in what's next for Bell, probably a monster deal in a crappy franchise where he will probably be the only bright spot. And if the Steelers do put the Transition Tag on him, they could get a 3rd rounder out of that mess. Or a corner.

7 Re: Bell's Holdout Is a Historic Disaster for Le'Veon Bell

I have a feeling Gurley's deal is going to end up being an aberration. I had been one of the few folks on here defending big-money deals for star running backs, but I'm starting to reverse on that position after this season from Conner. It really does look like it isn't that hard to replace even an All Pro tailback. SOMEBODY is going to give Bell a crapload of money, because it only takes one team out of 32 to do it, but I don't think it will be a good team and I don't think it will be Gurley money.

9 Le'Veon Bell's Holdout Is a Historic Disaster for Le'Veon Bell

It's not only that Bell has cost himself that cash, but that it is pure cash saved by the Steelers and their owners. And they've found his direct replacement who they control for a fraction of the cost for the next two years. A massive win for them.

11 Re: Le'Veon Bell

There are some running backs who can be very productive behind mediocre or even poor blocking. Barry Sanders was like that, and so was Adrian Peterson in his prime. Unfortunately, until the running back is behind such a line, you don't really know if he is in that select group, and if he isn't, he probably isn't worth an ocean guaranteed cash. Bell has always had a good line to run behind, and it is reasonable to fear that his vaunted patience with the ball in his arms would become a liability behind a bad line. He should have taken a 14.5 million dollar risk behind a good line, as opposed to what he'll likely be offered to run behind a bad one. It is possible, however, that somebody will do something stupid.

14 Re: Le'Veon Bell

In reply to by Will Allen

And then there's Walter Payton who had no help at all (not just O-line) for most of his career.