Word earlier this week was that Le’Veon Bell wants the Steelers to pay him the same salary that they’re paying to Antonio Brown. Good Friday has arrived which gives us the perfect opportunity to deliver some tough love to Le’Veon Bell:
- Le’Veon Belly doesn’t deserve to be paid on the same level as Antonio Brown.
Sorry Le’Veon, that’s just the truth. Steel Curtain Rising has long sung Le’Veon Bell’s praises. As early as 2014 this site began suggesting that Le’Veon Bell just might resurrect the concept of a “Franchise Running Back.” Clearly Le’Veon Bell has Hall of Fame level talent, just as Antonio Brown does. Le’Veon Bell best running back in the NFL, just as Antonio Brown is the NFL’s best wide receiver.
- But there’s a fundamental difference between the two stars.
While both are at the best at what they do today, Antonio Brown is in the process of putting himself into the conversation of being one of the best ever. Le’Veon Bell hasn’t gotten there yet.
- It really is that simple.
Yes, Le’Veon Bell owns the Steelers single game regular season rushing record. Yes, Le’Veon Bell owns the Steelers single game playoff rushing record. In accomplishing that, Le’Veon Bell broke records that franchise Hall of Famers John Henry Johnson, Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis never did. Neither did Super Bowl XL hero Willie Parker.
- That’s quite a resume for a Pittsburgh Steelers running back who has yet to turn 26 years old.
But longevity is an element of greatness, and durability has proven to be elusive for Le’Veon Bell. In his five years in the NFL, Le’Veon Bell has only played 16 game season plus the playoffs. The decline in Bell’s yard-per-carry from 2016 to 2017, while far from ominous, doesn’t help his cause.
- A year ago Le’Veon Bell left the Steelers (and his agent) at the altar.
In doing so he displayed incredible confidence, choosing to bet on himself. He’s litterally putting his money where his mouth is, because if reports of the Steelers 2017 contract offer are true, Bell has already left a few million on the table. Walking that walk takes some serious self-confidence.
If Le’Veon Bell, alongside Brown, Ben Roethlisberger, Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster go out and dominate the NFL in 2018 and bring Lombardi Number Seven to Pittsburgh, and Bell cashes in on the free agent market it will have been a win-win situation.
- If Bell wants to reset the NFL’s market for running backs, good for him.
Given how fundamental the running game has been to the foundation of the franchise, Steelers Nation shouldn’t criticize Bell for doing that, they should admire him for it. It’s one thing to bet on yourself; it is quite another to overplay your hand.
And there’s a difference between confidence and arrogance if Le’Veon Bell really expects the Steelers to pay him what they’re paying Antonio Brown then he is crossing that line.
Has Steelers free agency left you scrambling? Click here for our Steelers 2018 Free Agent tracker or click here for all Steelers 2018 free agency focus articles.