So, today was the day that Le’Veon Bell faced as the deadline for signing his franchise tag and with that gaining the ability to play this season. If he didn’t sign, then he doesn’t play and he forfeits the entire year’s salary of $14M+. Well, he didn’t sign. He’s most likely no longer a Steeler.
The Steelers could slap the franchise tag on him again, but through a loophole in the system, that would bypass the Year Two franchise tag (probably around $15M) and go straight to Year Three (over $23M). That would require the Steelers to pay that, but it would also get them guaranteed two 1st Round draft picks. There’s no way they’re going to pay that. It could be the transition tag that they use, which means that the Steelers would not have to pay a guaranteed contract and would get to match any offers that were made to Bell when free agency starts March 13 at 4pm.
The chances of that are a little more realistic but still not likely. There are teams that will have plenty of room under the salary cap with a clear need for Bell’s services by then. I can name a few, now: Colts, Bills, Texans, Raiders, Redskins (possibly), Bucs, and a few more. Then there are those that would just snatch him up to have him. I would hate to see him in a Patriots or Ravens uniform, those worse than most.
I am quite happy with James Connor’s performance this year. He’s really burst onto the scene, but that’s not really surprising. He’s destined for greatness, I believe. As long as he stays healthy and stays out of trouble, that is. Then again, Bell was always an injury waiting to happen. I think Connor is the Steelers’ future, now.
Bell gave up the salary for this whole year. He held out last year for a bit, too. But, before this, he had given up over $8M. $855k+ a week. James Connor makes less than $500k for the entire year. I know the Steelers are one of two teams that don’t put up big guarantees (the other is the Packers) but I hope that they pay Connor what he’s worth when the time comes.
I am okay with Bell gone. If he can afford to do without his $14M he doesn’t need (or deserve) more money.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“So be it…” – Mike Tomlin