The news sent shock-waves throughout the NFL on Monday when the Pittsburgh Steelers and Le’Veon Bell failed to come to terms on a new contract agreement — and also opened up a big can of worms.
Questions started to swirl around the entire situation — everything from the negotiations to the offer itself. Nonetheless, the Steelers made Bell their best offer and No. 26 turned it down — for the second straight year.
To rub some extra salt in the wound, Bell’s agent, Adisa Bakari, gave ESPN’s Adam Schefter some insight on what might have been the hurdle keeping the two from getting a deal done:
Via Le'Veon Bell's agent Adisa Bakari: "His intention was to retire as a Steeler. But now that there's no deal, the practical reality is, this now likely will be Le'Veon's last season as a Steeler."— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 16, 2018
More: "It became clear the Steelers wanted to pay the position, not the player."
Bakari talks about this “likely will be Le’Veon’s last season as a Steeler.” which isn’t breaking news, but what he followed that up with was poignant:
“It became clear the Steelers wanted to pay the position, not the player.”
What Bakari likely is referring to is how the Steelers were referencing the current NFL market, and basing their offer on what other teams’ premiere NFL running backs are earning (i.e. paying the position, not the player).
Bell still values himself as a top running back — no one is debating this fact — plus being the team’s No. 2 wide receiver. Bell certainly has a case with this argument as well but, at the end of the day, the two parties simply weren’t able to find the middle ground. The Steelers weren’t willing to overpay, and Bell wasn’t willing to take less to stay.
There you have it.
Now, the questions remaining are when will Bell show up and, when he does, will the Steelers give him the Willie Parker treatment and run the wheels off of him?
Stay tuned as this story is just starting to develop.