This offseason might not be pretty for the Steelers and their fans. Le'Veon Bell is without a contract and putting the franchise tag on him again might not be in the best interests of the team.
Steelers Depot explains why,
"Very high 2018 salary/cap charge – If you want to look at Bell only from a salary and cap standpoint, you’ll see that placing the franchise tag on him this offseason would come with a $14.54 million price tag and that would be his cap charge as well if no new deal could be worked out prior to the middle of July. In case you haven’t already figured it out by now, the Steelers are already hurting for salary cap space this offseason and making room to accommodate $14.54 million will likely put stress on future years because a few contract restructures might be needed just to accommodate Bell’s tag amount. In short, is Bell really worth $14.54 million for one season, which is currently $6.29 million more than the next highest paid running back in the NFL makes?
Drop in play by play production – While Bell did finish third in the NFL in rushing yards in 2017 and second in combined yards, his overall production was really a result of volume more so than quality. Not only did Bell’s yards per carry average dip nearly a full yard in one season, his average yards per reception decreased a half a yard from 2016 as well. Bell’s successful run rate was way down in 2017 and his rate of runs that produced zero or lost yardage was up. To make matters worse, he even lost two fumbles in 2017. Is this a result of the rest of the NFL finally catching up with his patient running style, decline in ability, poor offensive line play, poor play calling, or all of the above? Whatever the root of the problem is, the Steelers couldn’t fix it over the course of the entire 2017 season.
Prima donna attitude – Bell claims that staying in Pittsburgh is his primary goal during the offseason. With that said, he will do so only if his financial demands are met, according to him, and has even threatened to retire or sit out the entire 2018 season if tagged again. From social media comments, to previous suspensions for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, to reportedly being tardy back-to-back days prior to the team’s playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Bell’s attitude and actions stink overall right now."
Source: Steelers Depot · Photo Credit: Keystone Press Agency