The Le’veon Bell Controversy

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Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’veon Bell has been in the news quite often since the beginning of the 2018-2019 NFL season. He has been in the news not because of how he has been playing, but because of how he hasn’t been playing. Bell is arguably the best running back in the league and gets paid like it, but this year he decided he was not satisfied with the pay he was going to receive from the Steelers.

After the conclusion of the 2017-2018 NFL season, the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise tagged their star running back Le’veon Bell. This meant that Bell would receive a hefty paycheck of $14.5 million. This would make Bell the highest paid NFL running back over Jerick Mckinnon, whose paycheck values at $10.5 million. However, Bell was not satisfied with his $14.5 million and decided to sit out in a few games in protest to convince the Steelers’ organization to pay him more. His demands were similar to the amount of money that a quarterback makes. However, the results were not what he expected.

So far this year, the Steelers have been reluctant to up Bell’s pay, meaning Bell has sat out longer than anyone anticipated and will not play in the 2018-2019 season. Le’veon Bell is an All-Pro running back and has proved to be a once in a lifetime athlete. In 2016, he only played in 12 out of the 16 games and still racked up 1,268 yards rushing as well as 616 receiving. He additionally rushed for the most yards in the Steelers’ history against the Buffalo Bills by getting 236 yards, breaking the previous record set by Willie Parker, who had 223 yards in a single game. Bell also broke the record for most scrimmage yards in the first 10 games of a season in 2016. He is no doubt an incredible running back, but why won’t the Steelers pay him the money he is requesting?

At the age of 26, Le’veon Bell is still relatively young for running back standards. But for him to receive a five year deal or any other long term deal would most likely mean that he would play into his 30s under that contract. The problem with running backs over 30 is they usually show signs of decline in their performance. The Steelers starter replacing Bell, James Connor, is only 23 years old and seems to be producing enough for the Steelers to not require Bell. The Pittsburgh Steelers don’t have a good reason to pay Bell the money he wants because all their needs are fulfilled when it comes to running backs.

So if Pittsburgh won’t pay Bell the money he wants, will any other team do so?

Le’veon is a good enough player where he won’t have a problem finding another team to start for. Some of the more prominent options to trade for Bell include the Indianapolis Colts, the New York Jets, the Houston Texans, and a few others. These teams have struggled when it comes to rushing and passing. Le’veon Bell is a dual back, meaning he can start in the backfield and run the ball as well as line up as a receiver and be a threat down the field. With so many teams interested in signing Bell he is no doubt going to get paid near what he wants. The only question is how much money he will be able to get.

While this seems like a ridiculous scheme for someone planning to make over $14 million in a single year, the NFL is ultimately a business, and Le’veon Bell is just trying to use his talent to the best of his ability and profit off of all his hard work.