Pending Bills running back LeSean McCoy is about to cash in on a significant contract extension.
The Eagles' reported trade of him to Buffalo for linebacker Kiko Alonso will be made official at the start of the league year, and upon that finalization, McCoy will reportedly sign a 5-year, $40 million contract with #26.5 million of that guaranteed.
There's no doubt Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell is taking notice.
Bell broke the team's single-season yards from scrimmage record in his second year, and with two years left on his deal, another 2,000-plus yards from scrimmage year will put him into McCoy's salary range right at the time he could pretty easily make the argument he out-played his rookie contract.
As a second-round pick in 2013, Bell isn't subjected to a club-option fifth year of his deal the way outside linebacker Jarvis Jones is (defensive end Cameron Heyward is playing on that option this year, and right guard David DeCastro will likely have that option exercised in 2016). He's scheduled to be a free agent in 2017, meaning, the Steelers will want to consider an extension for Bell around this time next year.
We hate to use the word "holdout," but in the instance Bell has another year like he did in 2014, he's scheduled to make less than $1 million for the 2016 season. That won't sit well.
The team gave wide receiver Antonio Brown a contract extension after his first two years in the league. Much of the reason for that was the team having budgeted money for the signing of Mike Wallace, which he turned down. They invested in Brown, doling out a rare new deal after just two seasons for their sixth round pick in 2010. The argument could be made on both sides Brown outplayed his rookie deal.
Bell probably can make the same argument now, but facing a suspension for likely two games of the 2015 season, he won't get an extension now. Next year, though, it's a totally different story.