The Pittsburgh Steelers have waited for running back Le’Veon Bell to show up to training camp this summer. But Bell was a no-show, and new details have emerged that he nixed a multi-year deal back in July, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
While this news is only now breaking, the Post-Gazette learned that, “…on the afternoon of the July 17 NFL deadline for Bell to come to terms on a multi-year contract, team officials thought they had come to terms with his agent on a five-year deal. At the last minute, however, Bell nixed the contract.”
The report also stated that Bell would have made about $12 million or more, and roughly $30 million in the first two years under the new deal.
But Bell’s agent, Adisa Bakari, is disputing claims that Bell did in fact turn down a long-term deal with the Steelers, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Bell’s situation is one that presents itself in a selfishly apparent way, even if that is not his intent. He has said multiple times that he wants to make around $15 million a year, but he is already the highest paid running back in the NFL. Not only that, but he makes almost $4 million more than the next highest-paid running back in the league currently.
There could be multiple reasons why Bell rejected the Steelers’ contract offer, but one of them is likely the retirement talk that has been coming out of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger‘s mouth as of late. If Roethlisberger does decide to retire after the 2017-18 season, Pittsburgh would need a veteran that could utilize all of the offensive weapons that the Steelers have in Bell and receiver Antonio Brown. That might be a crapshoot that Bell isn’t willing to stick around for.
But Bell has never been shy about his feelings — or making them known in public comments — and his holdout is speaking far louder than words. Add that he also reportedly rejected a multi-year deal from Pittsburgh, and the team could be looking for a franchise quarterback and running back this next offseason.