$7.7 Million Forfeited By Le’Veon Bell And Only 2 Weeks To Change His Mind
As of October 31, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell has forfeited $7.7 million by not reporting during the 2018 National Football League regular season. Bell, represented by NFL Players Association Contract Advisor Adisa Bakari, would forfeit double the aforesaid amount if he never reports to the Steelers during the season.
The twenty-six year old running back remains upset that the Steelers slapped him with a franchise tag in March, which means that Bell would only be guaranteed a single season’s worth of salary had he played starting with Week 1. The lifespan of a running back can be very short in the NFL and contracts are almost never fully guaranteed, especially for a running back who incurs enhanced wear and tear by running through the trenches and being tackled by players sometimes twice his size.
“I’ve gotta take this stand,” Bell has stated. “Knowing my worth and knowing I can tear a ligament or get surgery at any time, I knew I couldn’t play 16 games with 400 or more touches.”
It is possible that Bell pivots and reports to the Steelers in the near future to at least receive a part of the very lucrative one-year offer that the Steelers were required to provide by way of applying the franchise tag. If Bell does show up at some point, then he will earn a pro rata portion of the entire consideration that was offered by the Steelers, based on the number of games remaining on the Steelers’ regular season schedule.
Waiting until after October 30 could have been a strategic move by Bell and his advisors; however, many have guessed wrong in the past when they thought they knew that Bell would report. October 30 marked the official end of the trade deadline, which means that Bell has no worries about being traded should he change his mind and show up in a Steelers uniform.
It would not be the worst situation for the Steelers should Bell be inclined to make a return before the end of the 2018 NFL regular season. The Steelers would be getting a set of very fresh legs at a discount, Bell should still be encouraged to perform well so that his market value remains high and the Steelers could still be in contention to make a run in the playoffs despite Bell’s elongated absense. It would essentially be a multi-million dollar savings for the franchise that could then potentially benefit from having one of the best running backs in the game who saved himself from early season wear and tear.
But Bell cannot wait forever to report. He has two weeks to make a final decision as to whether or not he will play and make some on-field money in 2018. If he does not show to the Steelers by November 13, then he cannot play at all.
Yet, maybe Le’Veon Bell is fine with playing roughly one-third of those games so he can show that he has not lost a step in his time off from football and still line his pockets with many millions of dollars.