Will Steelers sign Bell to a long term contract

Le'Veon BellThe Pittsburgh Steelers have a big decision to make on whether to sign all-pro running back Le’veon Bell to a long term contract before the start of the 2016-2017 NFL season.  Bell is entering the final year of his contract which historically is the time the front office will resign players.  The Steelers training camp is less than 2 weeks away and the organization does not negotiate new contracts during the season to avoid any distractions.  So, the time is ticking.

The Steelers have 3 options:

 

  1. Get the deal done now.  Sign Bell to a 4 year deal (at the most) averaging 10-12 million a year.  Preferably, I would only sign him to a 3 year deal but I don’t think Bell and his agent would go for that.  15 million/year as implied in his recent rap song is not going to happen and Bell as admitted as much.
  2. Franchise him next year. The Steelers could franchise him for approximately 15 mil next year if they can’t get a deal done this year or if they want to take a “wait and see” approach.  The wait and see approach does make sense given Bell’s injury history
  3. Let him walk after this year.  This might happen especially if the organization has durability concerns which is valid.  He hasn’t played an entire season and has already had 2 straight knee injuries requiring surgery.

There is little doubt that Le’veon Bell is the most dynamic RB in the league.  You can’t replace a player like that.  The NFL odds makers have the Steelers and New England Patriots as the favorites to win the Super Bowl.  Those odds are with a healthy Le’veon Bell.  The Steelers are a different team with him on the field especially given his receiving threat.

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