When and if he reviews to the Steelers this week, Le’Veon Bell ought to hope Professional Bowl guard David DeCastro and his Pittsburgh cohorts haven’t got comparable plans for a welcoming.
Bell, 26, has till Tuesday at four p.m. ET to point out up and signal his franchise tender, or he cannot play this season. He has left Miami and returned to Pittsburgh, to which DeCastro’s response was, “It would not matter. Why waste extra vitality on it?” Coach Mike Tomlin mentioned one thing comparable concerning Bell final week: “We want volunteers, not hostages.”
Speak about awkward if Bell really does report.
I am on report as saying that is essentially the most ridiculous holdout I’ve ever seen and an enormous misjudgment on the a part of Bell and his agent Adisa Bakari. Quite than taking part in below the one-year, $14.544 million tender (not precisely chump change), Bell determined to forego $855,529 per week by not reporting. After Week 10, the money-lost tally is at $8.5 million.
What has made issues worse for Bell: The longer this has dragged on, the higher Steelers working again James Conner has performed. And Pittsburgh, 6-2-1 and the chief of the NFC North, is surviving simply fantastic. If Bell reviews now, he’ll be an costly backup to Conner.
Suffice it to say that this holdout has not gone as Bell anticipated. And his rudest awakening may lie forward.
Bell in all probability won’t get the mammoth deal he expects when and if he hits free company in March. Groups shall be cautious of his selfishness, his damage historical past (11 video games misplaced in his profession) and his off-field points (a DUI and marijuana possession case in 2015 that led to a two-game suspension, plus a substance-abuse violation that value him three video games in 2016).
As a former NFL basic supervisor, in any case that has transpired with Bell, I do know I’d look elsewhere if I have been searching for a free-agent again. I’d be involved about what occurs as soon as Bell will get a long-term deal. Will he be a participant who refuses to play by minor aches and pains? May coaches and teammates ever belief a participant who has proved to be so self-absorbed?
After all, it solely takes one crew to pay Bell massive cash, however I extremely doubt he’ll see a suggestion anyplace close to Todd Gurley’s $14.375 million-per-year take care of $45 million assured. Bell’s best choice may wind up being a one-year, prove-it deal.
After so many miscalculations on this ill-conceived holdout, the worst transfer Bell may make at this juncture could be to not report back to the Steelers in any respect. Past all the cash he would hand over over the remainder of the season, he would additional exhibit to the remainder of the NFL that his mindset is to keep away from damage, which might make his market worth decline much more.
If Bell does report, Steelers proprietor/president Artwork Rooney, GM Kevin Colbert and Tomlin won’t be thrilled to see him stroll by the door. And if Bell or his agent gave alerts that he was going to report two weeks in the past throughout the crew’s bye (as ESPN reported), that may make the Steelers brass additional irritated and feeling they have been misled. They would wish to rationalize their anger about his absence by figuring they’ve an costly insurance coverage coverage in case Conner will get harm.
Rooney, Colbert and Tomlin would watch Bell’s degree of effort intently, and in the event that they felt he was not totally engaged or was defending himself, I would not be stunned in the event that they suspended him for conduct detrimental to the crew.
Bell can relaxation assured understanding the Steelers won’t franchise him once more or hit him with a transition tag in March. An excessive amount of injury has been achieved. They will say good riddance and hope Bell receives a ok deal elsewhere to ensure that Pittsburgh to obtain a third-round compensatory draft decide.
If I have been Bell’s agent, I’d have suggested him to report two weeks earlier than the common season, attempt to produce one other yr of two,000 yards after which hit free company as a 27-year-old, extremely coveted free agent in 2019. I’d have defined why the Steelers would by no means tag him at a QB quantity as a three-time franchise participant. I’d have suggested Bell to not alienate the Steelers; they could be the crew that makes him the perfect long-term contract provide.
As an alternative, Bell’s future appears to be like tenuous. The Steelers will not need him again, and there isn’t any method he’ll recoup his misplaced wages from this season.
Jeff Diamond is a former president of the Titans and former vice chairman/basic supervisor of the Vikings. He was chosen NFL Government of the Yr in 1998. Diamond is at the moment a enterprise and sports activities advisor who additionally does broadcast and on-line media work. He makes talking appearances to company/civic teams and school courses on Negotiation and Sports activities Enterprise/Sports activities Administration. He’s the previous chairman and CEO of The Ingram Group. Comply with Jeff on Twitter: @jeffdiamondNFL.