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Le’Veon Bell signing long term deal with Steelers is right move for both parties

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Much has been made about the Le’Veon Bell contract situation. Should the Steelers commit a boat load of cash to a player who’s off field problems & injuries raise questions. His talent and skill however trump the negatives and having him makes club better than without.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since the NFL and the players union agreed to player free agency, the league and its teams have both benefited and struggled with the concept of top players seeking higher pay. This has proven to be both a blessing, and a curse.

The challenge, among many that present itself, is to try and find a balance of where both parties can benefit. For the players, the only benefit (in most cases) is if the money is right.

In the case of Le’Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers, that figure seems to be set at $15 million per season. Bell seems adamant about it, and given the team’s recent restructuring of several player contracts, they too are progressing towards that number.

While the news has simmered down since the Pro Bowl, you can bet the Steelers are better with Bell, and anyone can consider this team to be better without No. 26.

You can start by arguing the cap hit the team will face. It seems like every year the Steelers are maxed out, or very close, to a ceiling that doesn’t allow them to swim in these waters. But that’s why the team pays Omar Kahn. His task is to see to it the team has flexibility with contracts and potential signings.

Should there be some flexibility on Bell’s end? Maybe, but I don’t know how much he, or his agent Adisa Bakari are willing to go. There will no club friendly deal’s on this one.

Some would consider that a strike against the two sides coming to terms.

Another is Bell’s reported injury history. He played in all 15 of the regular season games in 2017 where he dressed. Outside of 2015 when he only played six games before an MCL ended his season in November, Bell hasn’t missed much playing time do to being banged up. In fact, he’s started in every game he’s played in since being hurt, sans the 1st four games of the 2016 season missed due to his substance abuse suspension.

Maybe it’s the slow start to this past year that has some people concerned. After all, Bell held out of camp to protest the franchise tag placed on him by his employer. He got out of the gate not at full game speed. Attitude some may say hinders him, but isn’t that the case with players today?

These are all compelling points to consider when it comes to Bell being retained long-term by the team. But let me tell you why he should be signed. And it’s a simple reason.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are better with him.

Period.

His talent and skill level would be almost impossible to replace, certainly with one player. The entire running back by committee won’t work. Bell touched the ball a whopping 406 times last year, a staggering 60 more than his next closest competitor in LeSean McCoy at 346. Bell also ranked 2nd in the NFL in total yards and yards per game in 2017.

You simply aren’t going to replace those numbers.

In the end, you simply do the numbers and figure in the value of having Bell on this roster than without. Money aside, his production is still at his peak, and by all accounts, will continue for two to three more seasons — barring injury.

And as we all know, you can’t live in your fears.

Or at least that’s what I’ve heard.

The Steelers signing Le’Veon Bell is the right play. And anything less than that is going to lead to another season of a 2nd franchise tag being applied, a holdout to protest it and more drama this team does not need heading into 2018.

John Phillips is the author of this article and a secrete member of the Galactic Empire. When he’s not chasing down jedi scum on the south side, he can be found providing opinion columns for BTSC. A job he’s enjoyed doing since 2014.