It is not uncommon for football players to wait to sign a contract so they can receive more money, but this year NFL players, specifically Le’Veon Bell, have taken it to the next level.
This offseason, a common question throughout the NFL would be when Le’Veon Bell would sign a new contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ultimately, he never attended practice and decided not to play in the NFL this season.
For the past two seasons, Bell has been unable to make a financial agreement with the Steelers. Bell was franchise tagged by the team, but he insisted on getting an annual salary of 15 million dollars.
Throughout this season, he has been spotted at parties and has tweeted about how he feels unappreciated by the franchise. These signs pointed to the fact that he would not return to the team.
There were also rumors the franchise would trade Bell to the New York Jets or Philadelphia Eagles, but the teams never reached deals. Instead, the Steelers found success with their young running back James Conner.
This trend is all too common in the NFL. Many teams do not have enough money to keep a player on the team but feel they can settle contract negotiations, so the team decides to franchise tag the player. Though this is great for the team and fans of the player, the move makes the player unable to pursue other options individually.
Bell’s case was special because he never reported to the team, so he never got a chance to play with them. Earl Thomas, a free safety on the Seattle Seahawks, ended his 2018 season early with a leg fracture. As he was carted off of the field, he made a gesture to the sidelines showing he clearly was not happy. Thomas has wanted an extension from the team but has been unsuccessful. Because he played with the team, people don’t view his case as something out of the ordinary.
It will be interesting to see where Bell ends up in the future: many view him as a distraction in the locker room. However, it is almost certain that despite what team he will be playing for, he will soon be ready to compete at an elite level.
By: Katherine Cottrell’21, Staff Writer