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Le’Veon Bell bet on himself, and he is losing money by the week

This offseason Le’Veon Bell took all his chips and bet on himself. After two weeks, it looks as if Bell could be losing some money on that bet.

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NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The average football fan can’t fathom what Le’Veon Bell did prior to the NFL deadline for franchise tagged players to receive a long-term contract.

Bell turned down a reported 5-year contract worth almost $12.5 million a year. This is what the leaked reports stated, but Bell didn’t just turn down a contract, he bet on himself.

He declared he wanted to be paid as a top running back in the NFL, and the Pittsburgh Steelers No. 2 wide receiver. To be fair, he holds those two roles when he is healthy and available on the football field, but he decided playing on a one-year franchise tag, worth $12.1 million dollars, is worth it if he goes out and lights it up in 2017.

Well, after sitting out training camp and the entire preseason, Bell’s Week 1 performance against the Cleveland Browns, and Week 2 against the Minnesota Vikings, have left a lot to be desired.

Bell doesn’t look right.

He isn’t hitting the holes with the same speed and power we are used to seeing, and he also isn’t getting the lanes from the offensive line which became a regular occurrence in years past.

Whatever the case may be, after two weeks Bell looks like more like your everyday running back than a back wanting more than $12.5 million dollars a year.

Before going any further, I should state I realize there is a lot of season left, and Bell will likely turn things around. If you are someone not rooting for Bell to improve his game, you are ultimately rooting against the success of the team. Why? Because if Bell is at his best, so is the Steelers’ offense.

Nonetheless, not matter how you slice it, Bell isn’t showing the front office just how much he is worth, but quite possibly putting doubt into their minds regarding a new contract after the 2017 NFL season.

When Bell walked from the team’s offer and decided to play under the franchise tag for 2017, I publicly stated it could be a good deal for both sides. If Bell performs well, he will get his money, whether with Pittsburgh or somewhere else. And if Bell doesn’t perform, the Steelers could have saved themselves a lot of money either in Bell’s next contract, or not being on the hook for a long-term deal.

With all that said, the Steelers and Bell didn’t get a deal done, and Bell’s bet on himself isn’t starting out well. To use a horse racing analogy, out of the gate, Bell has stumbled, but there is still a lot of track to recover and finish the race strong. If I had to guess, this race might just come down to the wire.


I analyze this situation in further detail, including in-depth stats on Bell in the past three season, in the podcast which you can find in the player above. So give this 15-minute show a listen!

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