The Pittsburgh Steelers are slowly getting back to a sense of normalcy. After shipping Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders last Sunday, the team watched their other All-Pro player, running back Le’Veon Bell, leave for the New York Jets via free agency.
The difference between Brown and Bell is after Bell inks his new deal with the Jets on Wednesday, the question will always be whether his decision to sit out the entire 2018 season was a good one or not.
Most in Pittsburgh, and other NFL pundits agree the numbers just don’t add up. Take a look at what Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting for Bell’s deal with the Jets:
Le’Veon Bell’s four-year deal with the New York Jets has a max value of $61 million and includes $35 million guaranteed, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2019
Other than guaranteed money, which the Steelers were reportedly close to matching during their last round of contract negotiations, Bell’s deal isn’t all that much better than the best offer from the team which drafted him out of Michigan State.
While Bell is now counting those guaranteed dollars, it shouldn’t be forgotten he left $14.5 million guaranteed on the table last year by not showing up. To supposedly prove a point. Did he avoid injury? Yes, but at the same time you have to wonder if his decision hurt his overall worth in the eyes of the owners when he hit the free agent market this season.
Nonetheless, the Steelers turn the page from Brown and Bell and move forward with James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster. A lot less drama, and the Steelers will hopefully get a nice 3rd round compensatory draft pick in the 2020 NFL Draft for Bell’s departure.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers as the offseason is just starting to heat up!