What? This issue really divides opinions. Some agree, some don’t. To really delve into this topic, I discussed the possibilities and implications with a fellow die-hard sports fan, my brother-in-law Chris.
Tom: After all the drama has finally played out, I have come to the idea that Bell SHOULD NOT get paid, but WILL get paid. After holding out on your team all year long and not informing anyone of your plans or intentions how can you trust him? How does a guy that takes a year off look reliable to any team, or especially a team that has playoff aspirations? How can Bell be part of a team if he never shows up to practice/play with them? These questions alone make him untrustworthy of a large contract. Regardless of these liabilities, I still think Bell gets paid. I believe Bell gets paid because he is one of the top running backs in the game. He can be a game changer in the right scheme. Look at his previous seasons, all he does is produce, and he produces at a very high level. I also believe Bell gets paid because if one team thinks they are one running back away from a championship run, they will pay for that chance. An owner is not going to lose out on the chance to grab a sensational player if they feel he is the missing piece. One other reason I think he will get paid, he can argue he took this year off for his body to get fully rested and now he can be a better player for a longer amount of time. One other thing to look at is how the production of James Conner declined throughout the year. When he started the season he was red hot and looked like he was the guy to replace Bell. As the season went on he started to become less productive and less reliable. I think the Steelers would strongly consider looking at Bell a second time if Conner can’t shoulder the full load. As the regular season has now ended, I also want to make one more point. Considering all the drama that has followed the Steelers in the final week of the season, there have been rumors of them moving on from Antonio Brown. If Brown does get moved, does this mean a Bell gets paid and one more chance?
Chris: The drama with Bell is finally over, but another drama is brewing. His next contract. Bell SHOULD NOT get paid and I believe that Bell WILL NOT get the money too. When Bell forfeited $14.54 million, which was more than double than every single other running back this season, how much does he actually want? He left his team out to dry, and clearly didn’t want to go out to battle with his teammates who make less than he does. He is telling everyone that he is all about himself and not about the team. What lineman wants to block and make Bell successful when Bell is only thinking about himself. A selfish player should not get paid when he holds out. He will not get the money because the league has proven that running backs are replaceable in an instant. James Connor replaced Bell is playing better then Bell. The running back is only as good as his offensive line. I can list a whole bunch of running backs replacing star running backs over night. The league doesn’t pay running backs because the high risk of of injuries. No team will pay him the money that he wants because he was essentially replaced and the risk factor their for a huge contract. Bell should have collected his $14.54 million dollars and his $20 plus million dollars and play better and let his numbers and stats get the money not his selfish actions.
With the season coming to a close and the off-season about to begin, only time can tell this outcome.