Believe it or not, when James Harrison visited FS1 to do shows like ‘Undisputed’ and ‘The Herd’ with Colin Cowherd, he didn’t just talk about the Steelers and Patriots and compare Mike Tomlin to Bill Belichick.
No, they actually asked him other questions!
One of those questions was regarding Le’Veon Bell, and the failed long-term contract which was reported shortly after the July 16th deadline passed. When asked what he thought went wrong, Harrison stated something which may sound crazy, but is likely 100-percent true.
The Steelers wanted to pay Bell, but just couldn’t.
Take a listen:
“@LeVeonBell is not your average RB. He’s getting 70-80 catches a year. You got #1 WRs on other teams that aren’t even doing that. So if you can’t find the money that he wants, it has to be an issue of they don’t have it.” — @jharrison9292 pic.twitter.com/YSbODyIHP4— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) July 19, 2018
Harrison runs down the names of players who recently cashed in at the bank of Rooney: Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Alejandro Villanueva, Antonio Brown, David DeCastro and he even threwe in Ben Roethlisberger with the group. A lot of key players, at key positions, the team has invested heavily in. With this all well known information, what else is known is how little salary cap space the team has to work with.
The Steelers are wizards with contracts, and have always found ways to get money to those players deserving of it, but what if Harrison is right? Maybe they just didn’t have the money to give Bell what he wants/feels he deserves?
There will be some, like Skip Bayless did on the above segment, who say if the team really wanted Bell they would find the money. But how can they “find the money” to do so when the league’s salary cap is far from forgiving?
Sure, the Steelers could have had the forethought to think about Bell’s contract, but they did. The team tried hard to find middle ground with Bell, and his representation, for two years, and when those contract negotiations failed they went out and signed other players who were willing to take the deal offered.
Last year it was Alejandro Villanueva and Stephon Tuitt who were signed after Bell chose to play 2017 under the franchise tag, and this year it very well could be someone like kicker Chris Boswell who will cash in thanks to the space now available due to the mega-offer turned down by Bell.
While most Steelers fans have chastised Harrison for his recent remarks on the culture in Pittsburgh, not everything coming out of his mouth was nonsense. In this case, he may actually have been right — regardless of what Skip Bayless thinks.