2018 Steelers: For Whom the Bell Tolls

dcdrew10

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In some ways I get his teammates being pissed at him, especially if he said he was coming back, since some players, like offensive linemen don't really get stats and a lot of their rep is built upon team success and the overall success of the skill players, so Bell's absence could negatively effect their future earnings, but fuck any player that takes management's side in a pay debate with a player. The Steelers and any NFL team are going to use up every millimeter of tread on the player's tires, particularly running back. There is no way Bell should risk his future earning potential for an NFL team to abuse him like the Steelers have done. You can't tell me that what happened to Shazier doesn't lurk in the back of Bell's mind. Impressive that the Steelers were able to get players to take management's side.
 

Sox and Rocks

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This is why the Steelers only have one modern Super Bowl. They have talent galore, but there's always something with this franchise. Little cohesiveness or accountability.

How many Super Bowls would Belichick have won with this group?
 

mwonow

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How would the o-line being pissed at him affect his production? Like they would intentionally block poorly? I have a very hard time believing that.
I remember my dad telling me that this would occasionally happen to Harry Agganis
 

KiltedFool

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Gotta love the Pats board version of a Steelers thread.

A minor excerpt from behind a paywall.
"At this point, it's beyond business," said Pouncey. "Unless you want to come out and say as a man, 'Hey I'm going to miss the first 10 weeks. It really sucks for my teammates but I have to do this. It's a business decision.' If you come out and say that, then you know what? As men in here we can all respect that. But to play hide and go seek, and no one knows what the hell's going on, like, you can't communicate? What the hell? We're way older than that. There's no point in not communicating it."

They all understand it's a business, they did it last year too. But they also seem to have a feeling of when it's time to go to work, whether based on culture or communication with Bell.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I'm pretty sympathetic to Bell in this one. Even if he might be a jerk I can see where he's coming from on the situation.

The franchise rules fall more harshly on some positions then they do on others. Three years of control of a player with relatively limited mileage compared to say a kicker or a QB is pretty harsh. And while RBs are obviously well paid, the 20 percent increase for repeatedly franchising a player is less of a disincentive for a really great running back than for, say, a QB. Bell didn't get the big rookie contract like Elliott and obviously didn't get the big extension like Gurley. He played well under market for his 4 years of control and then he played well and again under market for his first franchise year.

If he were coming off an well paid extension, or his rookie deal had been more significant, or this were his first franchise year, maybe some of the harsh Steeler fans and his teammates would have more of a point and I could see the "shut and play" side of the equation a bit better. He was the league leader in touches last year and there's not much doubt that he would be close again this year, which is exactly the reason the Steelers presumably don't want to give him any kind of longer extension or guaranteed money. But it's also exactly the reason that I don't begrudge him using whatever leverage he has to try to do better. That his teammates would throw him under the bus for all that is really quite shocking.
 

KiltedFool

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He was offered significant extensions the last two years, first a reported 5/60 with 30 in the first two years that his agent supposedly agreed to and then he nixed (conflicting reports), followed by turning down a reported 5/70 in July this year. He's been asking for $17 per season and has been trying to make the case of wanting to be paid as the top RB plus the #2 WR. He's stated many times he wants to completely reset the running back market, which sounds nice but he's shoveling sand against the tide to an extent.

He's also got multiple suspensions, high mileage and an injury history.

His offensive linemen have all been in his corner all along, until he didn't show up yesterday. Sometimes the bridges, they burn.
 

BigSoxFan

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Owners would never agree to this but I wish teams were only allowed to franchise a player once.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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He was offered significant extensions the last two years, first a reported 5/60 with 30 in the first two years that his agent agreed to and then he nixed, followed by turning down a reported 5/70 in July this year. He's been asking for $17 per season and has been trying to make the case of wanting to be paid as the top RB plus the #2 WR. He's stated many times he wants to completely reset the running back market, which sounds nice but he's shoveling sand against the tide.

He's also got multiple suspensions, high mileage and an injury history.

His offensive linemen have all been in his corner all along, until he didn't show up yesterday. Sometimes the bridges, they burn.
I don't really know all the ins and outs but if he really has been offered significant injury protection lifetime FU money then I can see the other side. I guess I always view those "reported" offers as baloney and someone trying to negotiate in the press. And they never really mention the only thing that matters in the NFL -- the guaranteed bit -- but, yeah, if he turned down 5/70 with a legitimate guranteed component, then I guess I see why people are annoyed.
 

KiltedFool

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He has been offered real money in extensions, though the Steelers typically only ever guarantee the signing bonus and I think the first year. And yeah there's many versions of how much he was offered and denials of this and that out there, it's clear to me there were legitimate offers both years but neither were outrageous, that's how the Steelers operate. Really looks like he wanted Revis money but he plays the wrong position, there's real chance they offered him almost double the next highest paid RB (at $8 per).

Meh, on to Cleveland.

Heyward restructured, opening up $5M in cap space. Cutting Jones likely opened up a mil or so as well.
 

Reverend

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Gotta love the Pats board version of a Steelers thread.

A minor excerpt from behind a paywall.
"At this point, it's beyond business," said Pouncey. "Unless you want to come out and say as a man, 'Hey I'm going to miss the first 10 weeks. It really sucks for my teammates but I have to do this. It's a business decision.' If you come out and say that, then you know what? As men in here we can all respect that. But to play hide and go seek, and no one knows what the hell's going on, like, you can't communicate? What the hell? We're way older than that. There's no point in not communicating it."

They all understand it's a business, they did it last year too. But they also seem to have a feeling of when it's time to go to work, whether based on culture or communication with Bell.
I don't begrudge anyone feeling that way; that's personal, though.

Talking to the press is business.
 

timelysarcasm

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He was offered significant extensions the last two years, first a reported 5/60 with 30 in the first two years that his agent supposedly agreed to and then he nixed (conflicting reports), followed by turning down a reported 5/70 in July this year. He's been asking for $17 per season and has been trying to make the case of wanting to be paid as the top RB plus the #2 WR. He's stated many times he wants to completely reset the running back market, which sounds nice but he's shoveling sand against the tide to an extent.

He's also got multiple suspensions, high mileage and an injury history.

His offensive linemen have all been in his corner all along, until he didn't show up yesterday. Sometimes the bridges, they burn.
It seems disingenuous not to mention the fact that this high mileage came in service to the Steelers. It's always been about guaranteed money, and if you look at the deals that have been given out in the last year, you can understand Bell's grudge here.

After being franchised twice in a row during his prime, I'm not sure why this move is surprising or angering to anyone - least of all fellow players.
 

Sox and Rocks

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Owners would never agree to this but I wish teams were only allowed to franchise a player once.
If the league really wants an 18 game season, we're probably headed this way. In return, players will (rightfully) want to reach free agency sooner (perhaps 3/4 year rookie deals instead of 4/5), and a possible limit on use of franchise tags.

When the franchise tag first started, weren't teams only allowed to use it once in a two year period or something like that, or am I misremembering?
 
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If I were Pittsburgh and SF, I would deal LeVeon to the 49ers, who have a good amount of cap space and are building around a young QB in Jimmy G. (EDIT: AND just lost their not-all-that-good-anyway RB to an ACL tear.) SF's 2019 #1 PLUS.

How has Conner looked in pre-season?
 

finnVT

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This is such a weird situation in that I'm both sympathetic to both sides, and yet find everyone's stances ridiculous.

Bell should be thinking about his career, and is following one of the few options available to him in this position. BUT, I think he's crazy to think he'll end up with a big payday after this as a 27yo RB with a lot of mileage and has almost certainly cost himself money ultimately.
The Steelers haven't really done anything wrong by taking advantage of the tag within the rules of the CBA, BUT they should absolutely have seen this coming, and if they're not happy with the way it's working out they have only themselves to blame. If you can't work out a deal, and know the player isn't going to comply with the tag for the 2nd year in a row, make other plans-- trade him, draft/sign another RB, whatever, but don't just blindly hope it'll work out.
The rest of the team, especially the union reps like Ramon Foster, should really understand that Bell is doing what he needs to do to protect himself in a league where players really don't have a ton of negotiating power. BUT, if Bell actually told them he'd be back this week, then I can totally understand why they'd take that personally and be pretty pissed off at him.

It's wacky, and easy to convince yourself that any of them are wronging the others or being wronged.
 

Super Nomario

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What is going to happen here? The Steelers and Bell cannot negotiate a contract because they missed the 7/16 deadline. The Steelers cannot trade Bell because he hasn't signed the tender. So ultimately, either Bell is going to eventually sign the tender or Pittsburgh is eventually going to rescind it. There's no real reason for the former to happen until Week 10 and there's no real reason for the latter to happen at all (the Steelers can't spend the money to help the team at this point).

Bell should be thinking about his career, and is following one of the few options available to him in this position. BUT, I think he's crazy to think he'll end up with a big payday after this as a 27yo RB with a lot of mileage and has almost certainly cost himself money ultimately.
This is where I'm at. I have zero issue with a player doing what's best for themselves and their earnings (short- and long- term) but ultimately I think this hurts Bell. $14.5 MM is a nice chunk of change; pocket it, then go get your contract.
 

pappymojo

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This is such a weird situation in that I'm both sympathetic to both sides, and yet find everyone's stances ridiculous.

Bell should be thinking about his career, and is following one of the few options available to him in this position. BUT, I think he's crazy to think he'll end up with a big payday after this as a 27yo RB with a lot of mileage and has almost certainly cost himself money ultimately.
The Steelers haven't really done anything wrong by taking advantage of the tag within the rules of the CBA, BUT they should absolutely have seen this coming, and if they're not happy with the way it's working out they have only themselves to blame. If you can't work out a deal, and know the player isn't going to comply with the tag for the 2nd year in a row, make other plans-- trade him, draft/sign another RB, whatever, but don't just blindly hope it'll work out.
The rest of the team, especially the union reps like Ramon Foster, should really understand that Bell is doing what he needs to do to protect himself in a league where players really don't have a ton of negotiating power. BUT, if Bell actually told them he'd be back this week, then I can totally understand why they'd take that personally and be pretty pissed off at him.

It's wacky, and easy to convince yourself that any of them are wronging the others or being wronged.
There's no reason to think Bell told his teammates he would back. Pouncey's complaint is that Bell isn't communicating with his teammates.
 

tims4wins

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The Steelers haven't really done anything wrong by taking advantage of the tag within the rules of the CBA, BUT they should absolutely have seen this coming, and if they're not happy with the way it's working out they have only themselves to blame. If you can't work out a deal, and know the player isn't going to comply with the tag for the 2nd year in a row, make other plans-- trade him, draft/sign another RB, whatever, but don't just blindly hope it'll work out.
This is the crux of it IMO. BB would have never let something similar happen with the Pats. Bell would have been traded, even if we'd all complain about only getting a second round pick back for him with which we'd draft a shitty safety.
 

finnVT

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There's no reason to think Bell told his teammates he would back. Pouncey's complaint is that Bell isn't communicating with his teammates.
I could well be wrong about this-- I thought the sports radio guys were making this point out here yesterday, but I'm not sure what it was based on, and they might have been extrapolating. I can't seem to find a quote saying exactly this-- closest I see is this:

“I really thought Wednesday, trust me, I really did,’’ Pouncey said. “After a couple of text messages and knowing Le’veon as a competitor who wants to be the best in the league ... but obviously he proved all of us wrong.” (from http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2018/09/05/leveon-bell-contract-holdout-ramon-foster-david-decastro/stories/201809050169)

It comes short of the way I phrased it though, but there's definitely some implication in their that teammates thought, for whatever reason, he would be back.
 

pappymojo

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I could well be wrong about this-- I thought the sports radio guys were making this point out here yesterday, but I'm not sure what it was based on, and they might have been extrapolating. I can't seem to find a quote saying exactly this-- closest I see is this:

“I really thought Wednesday, trust me, I really did,’’ Pouncey said. “After a couple of text messages and knowing Le’veon as a competitor who wants to be the best in the league ... but obviously he proved all of us wrong.” (from http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2018/09/05/leveon-bell-contract-holdout-ramon-foster-david-decastro/stories/201809050169)

It comes short of the way I phrased it though, but there's definitely some implication in their that teammates thought, for whatever reason, he would be back.
From the same article though:

“We asked him when he was coming. We joked around with him. He hit us with an IDEK – ‘I don’t even know.’”
 

pappymojo

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The interesting thing for me is the dynamic between superstars and the lower-earning players, especially as compared to the Patriots and Brady.

There is an assumption that star players pushing the envelope for how much they earn is beneficial to all players. Without going back to find specific articles, with some of the recent signings and extensions (Rodgers, Darnold, and Mack) there has been talk about how these contracts are good for the Players Association. Conversely, with Brady, there is constant talk about how he leaves money on the table and that this is both (1) bad for the union and (2) a huge benefit for the Patriots (which I don't deny).

In a league with both a salary cap and a salary floor, these really huge contracts for star players can be seen as limiting the earning opportunity for the rest of the team. I think this is similar to the problems that the union has when negotiating the CBA where the bulk of the players in the union have both very limited earning opportunities and a very limited expected career length.
 

Cellar-Door

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Every NFL player should support Bell and every franchise tagged player should not report until week 10. The NFLPA is a joke and keep taking terrible CBA deals. Players should exercise their rights under the CBA and make the tag worthless
 

pappymojo

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Every NFL player should support Bell and every franchise tagged player should not report until week 10. The NFLPA is a joke and keep taking terrible CBA deals. Players should exercise their rights under the CBA and make the tag worthless
Eh. The NFL players probably have a better deal than MLB players.

https://www.theringer.com/mlb/2018/2/21/17035624/mlb-revenue-sharing-owners-players-free-agency-rob-manfred

The revenue breakdown between owners and players is a fundamental data point: It’s difficult to decide what, if anything, needs to be done about baseball’s market without first coming to a consensus about where the market currently stands. While MLB players have resisted a salary cap that might make it simpler to establish what the players’ share “should” be, a 50–50 split sounds fairer — and much more sympathy-inducing, from a PR perspective — than a 60–40 split. An even distribution would also bring baseball in line with the salary-capped NFL, NBA, and NHL, all of which allocate close to 50 percent of revenue to their players.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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I guess you could argue that, but.... guaranteed contracts is a pretty big issue, even more than revenue split I'd say. (This is MLB only BTW, Minor leaguers are 100% getting screwed).
Why? Certainty is good, but ultimately in the NFL the players, collectively, are getting more money than MLB players are. The guaranteed contract issue is one of which players get paid, not how much players get paid.
 

Cellar-Door

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Why? Certainty is good, but ultimately in the NFL the players, collectively, are getting more money than MLB players are. The guaranteed contract issue is one of which players get paid, not how much players get paid.
Are they?
The newest NFL/NFLPA CBA has NFL players at 47.5-48% of revenue, even with the recent decline both parties seem to agree MLBPA takes a higher share than that. Add in no cap (which is why the share has been much higher than that in years past) and that every contract is a sunk cost and guaranteed to the player and it's a far better situation.
I think you and Pappy are misreading that quote and think it means a 60-40 split for owners, it actually is saying that the recent years MLB split is somewhere near 50-50 while in the past players were on the 60 side of a 60-40.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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Are they?
The newest NFL/NFLPA CBA has NFL players at 47.5-48% of revenue, even with the recent decline both parties seem to agree MLBPA takes a higher share than that. Add in no cap (which is why the share has been much higher than that in years past) and that every contract is a sunk cost and guaranteed to the player and it's a far better situation.
I think you and Pappy are misreading that quote and think it means a 60-40 split for owners, it actually is saying that the recent years MLB split is somewhere near 50-50 while in the past players were on the 60 side of a 60-40.
You're right - I didn't read the article, and relied on my past understanding (which the article ALSO lays out).
 

Dernells Casket n Flagon

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If every contract were fully guaranteed though, how do we think NFL contracts would change compared to how they currently are? There's still the same money in the cap to spread around.
 

dcmissle

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This is one of the essential points — no one wins when the family feuds.

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/24607633/antonio-brown-supports-leveon-bell-says-pittsburgh-steelers-turmoil-unnecessary

Add to it Tomlin as players’ coach. Most recent example — I don’t care what you do on the Anthem, you just have to do it as a group.

So again, no one is saying the Steelers’ position in this is off in any respect.

What we’re saying is players v LeVeon is really fucked up. And although this will eventually subside, there is insufficient lipstick for this pig.

It’s not just AB.
 

Reverend

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From the same article though:

“We asked him when he was coming. We joked around with him. He hit us with an IDEK – ‘I don’t even know.’”
It actually sounds like they're going through the stages of grief. They were in denial and so didn't take seriously what he told them, so now they're angry... I guess they next return to text messages for the bargaining portion?

As far as the CBAs, the average career lengths and risks needs to be considered, I think, with respect to the dynamics of what the players will find acceptable. Like, there's a conversation on the Main Board about what a sweet gig getting called up just for September is--there is nothing like that in the NFL. (The MLB, instead, has ignoring MiLB--everyone's got their own crap.)
 

mr_smith02

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Yay another season of playing down to the level of competition. So pathetic.
IMHO, from a lifelong Steelers fan, this is 100% on Mike Tomlin. In his tenure, the Steelers frequently take a lead against a lesser team and then manage to take the their foot off the gas and allow teams to creep right back into games. Too much cheering and "look at me" going on the Steelers' bench while opponents hang around long enough to make it a game. Loss of focus and a sense of urgency have been hallmarks of Tomlin's teams.
 

NYCSox

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IMHO, from a lifelong Steelers fan, this is 100% on Mike Tomlin. In his tenure, the Steelers frequently take a lead against a lesser team and then manage to take the their foot off the gas and allow teams to creep right back into games. Too much cheering and "look at me" going on the Steelers' bench while opponents hang around long enough to make it a game. Loss of focus and a sense of urgency have been hallmarks of Tomlin's teams.
It's always looking past. "Oh hey Mahomes is in next week and the Ravens on the 30th, we can walk into Cleveland and win without trying." Or "Man I want the Pats next week, we can deal with a mediocre QB like Bortles."

It's fucking tiresome. How many Terrell Pryor and Bruce Gradkowski and Blake Bortles and Tyrod Taylor losses can you have in your tenure?
 

troparra

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I don't really know all the ins and outs but if he really has been offered significant injury protection lifetime FU money then I can see the other side. I guess I always view those "reported" offers as baloney and someone trying to negotiate in the press. And they never really mention the only thing that matters in the NFL -- the guaranteed bit -- but, yeah, if he turned down 5/70 with a legitimate guranteed component, then I guess I see why people are annoyed.
The guaranteed component was $33M over the 1st two years, nothing guaranteed after that. So they give him the ball 800 times over the next 2 years and then cut him loose for nothing when his knees have exploded. He's already being franchised this year, and they can franchise him again next year if they want, so the contract they offered him was essentially a 2 year franchise tag.
 

mr_smith02

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This team was utterly embarrassing opening week, and this is the performance they put up a week later in their home opener?!? Things are going to get uglier as Brown continues to complain about touches and Bell's drama lingers on. That stuff aside, they looked completely unprepared for this game.
 

Dehere

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I'm blown away that the Steelers have opened as a three point favorite at TB. KC is probably the fastest team in the league but TB is pretty damn fast on the outside. Evans and Jackson have been getting behind DBs at will and the Steelers have shown nothing to suggest they can slow them down.

Pittsburgh might be this year's bust team. They're a mess in a division where every other team is getting better.
 

Red Averages

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I'd be livid if I was a teammate. Picture a co-worker disappearing and not telling you when they are coming back because they rightfully deserve a raise they aren't fully getting. While initially you may be supportive, as the work level increases and stress rises knowing you're covering for one of the star employees and would be doing far better if they are around resentment grows. Then you see them on video on vacation on a Jet Ski next to a Yacht as you're trying to salvage the current situation.

In the end this will cost Bell money. If he holds out until Week 10, he'll lose about 10mm in game check revenue, plus I'd assume some sponsorship revenue. Then you have the situation where he's getting less work in the final 6 games, if they are even in playoff contention (and really they look on the verge of exploding culture wise), so getting the next big offer + 1 year older in age seems less likely. Plus you need that offer to be >10mm more than you would have received this year. While a rookie comes in and takes over a significant portion of your stats, decreasing the perception of your value.
 

sodenj5

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Antonio Brown was AWOL yesterday.

Mike Tomlin’s seat has to be getting very warm right now.
 

tims4wins

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I'd be livid if I was a teammate. Picture a co-worker disappearing and not telling you when they are coming back because they rightfully deserve a raise they aren't fully getting. While initially you may be supportive, as the work level increases and stress rises knowing you're covering for one of the star employees and would be doing far better if they are around resentment grows. Then you see them on video on vacation on a Jet Ski next to a Yacht as you're trying to salvage the current situation.
It's not like Bell is getting paid and on a jetski.