So after shaking off the final franchise tag from the Pittsburgh Steelers and sitting out the entire 2018 NFL season, Le’Veon signed a 4-year deal of about $53 million which would be around $13 million per season.
Clearly, that number is less than the $14 million he would’ve made last season if he just came into training camp and put his name on the dotted line of that franchise tag.
This Jets contract is also less than what Ian Rappaport reported the Steelers offered him before settling on franchise tagging him. This looks really bad for Bell BUT when it comes to NFL contracts, all of these big numbers and annual salaries don’t really matter. It’s all about that guaranteed money and according to Le’Veon Bell, only $17 million of that Steelers offer would’ve been fully
The Jets doubled that.
And I know what you’re saying to yourself: ‘he could’ve still played for the Steelers last season, gotten the $14 million and THEN signed with the New York Jets after’.
To which my response is, you are missing the point of all of this.
Yes, Le’Veon Bell sat out because he wanted more money but he didn’t just want more money. He wanted more money from Pittsburgh. Bell was the best running back in the entire NFL and he wanted the team that he helped win games for the
It’s not as if he was a free agent last winter and refused to sign with a team until they gave him a massive number that he jotted down on a napkin and slid across the table to NFL GMs. If you bust your ass at work and your boss knows you’re the best employee in the company, it would be disrepectful as hell if it came time to sit down and discuss a raise and your boss was like ‘how would you feel about a pay cut?’.
There was also the belief that the Steelers would franchise tag him and knowing that it’d be his final year with the team, they’d max out his amount of touches and double his work load.
It’s like when the Chicago Cubs traded for Aroldis Chapman at the trade deadline in 2016. They knew Chapman wasn’t coming back the next season so when they made it to the playoffs they used him every single game for multiple innings and pretty much blew out his arm but they won a World Series so why would they give a shit about what happens to Chapman’s future? They got what they needed from him.
Le’Veon Bell HAD to sit out all season and enter free agency with a fresh body otherwise Pittsburgh would’ve totally shredded his tires.
Le’Veon Bell sacrificed $14 million to assert his own personal agency over his career. He created a blueprint for future superstars. NO ONE knew that a player could simply just shake off a franchise tag like Bell just did. He preserved his body and prolonged his career without being controlled by an organization.
You can call him selfish or whatever. Personally, I don’t live in a world where the wealthy entitled team owners are right in any of these situations. Not sure why people are so anti-employee when it comes to professional sports but every player should take advantage of any leverage they have in order to prove their own lives.
“Fuck the Steelers” -Le’Veon Bell.