It would appear that Le’Veon Bell wasn’t the only running back in the NFL disappointed with the contract offer the Pittsburgh Steelers made on Monday. While many in the media and a significant number of football fans might consider $70 million over five years a good deal, Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley isn’t one of them.
When speaking to Cameron DaSilva of Rams Wire on Tuesday, it was clear that Gurley considered the Steelers’ offer far from satisfactory.
“You love to see guys get paid, but you hate to see guys not get what they deserve. So it’s an unfortunate situation that he didn’t get the long-term deal done and potentially may be his last year with the Steelers. I don’t know what to say about the running back market. I guess they don’t want to pay us.”
Many will struggle with the notion that a contract reportedly worth $14 million a year is a sign that Pittsburgh didn’t want to pay their star running back, but it’s worth noting that Gurley is clearly motivated here by some self-interest. Given that he will be out of contract in 2020, there can be little doubt that an extension for Bell would have reset the market for his own negotiations.
Gurley doubled down on his support for Bell when he spoke to NFL Network’s Taylor Bisciotti at the Gatorade Athlete of The Year awards.
“As a player I definitely feel where he’s coming from. I don’t know exactly what he wants. But if he did what he did I’m pretty sure in his mind, he did the right thing. I definitely stand behind him and definitely support him. I wanted him to get that long-term deal but unfortunately it didn’t work out. He’s playing on the tag for the second time, which is not bad at all, but you know you just want that security. It’s definitely a sad situation for a guy to be a top-three back since he’s came into the league and put in the work and can’t even get the money that he deserves. Definitely a sad situation.”
Gurley is no fan of the franchise tag either, something he’s likely to be experiencing himself in the coming years if he really does believe the contract offer the Steelers made to Bell was less than he deserved, telling DeSilva,
“It’s probably better for teams. Obviously it’s guaranteed, but our number’s not that high – especially when you’re producing and you’re having 80 catches and 1,000 yards each season. You definitely feel the value and what you carry to the team and what you carry in this league, so you put in the work and you want to get paid for what you’ve done.”
At the time of this writing, only nine wide receivers in the NFL earn more than the $14 million a year offered to Bell (since Brandin Cooks signed an extension with the Rams on Tuesday). So even if Gurley believes the league doesn't value his position anymore, it would appear the facts don’t bear that out when it comes to the contract offered by the Steelers.