Bell’s holdout has pros, cons


Photo via Sporting News under Creative Common License.

Bell’s goal all along was both to earn what he feels is the appropriate dollar amount for his dual threat services and to set the market for backs, which Gurley accomplished not too long after.

Nick Pouch, Multimedia Editor

Drama, anger, and greed are words that have been used to describe Le’Veon Bell’s holdout from the Steelers. But after 4 p.m. on Tuesday, the drama ended.

Bell decided not to report to the Steelers’ facility and thus forfeited his $14.5 million franchise tag salary and will not able to play in the 2018 season.

Originally, most fans and former teammates of Bell thought it would be a repeat of last year — that he would skip training camp and show up week 1.

Obviously most fans and teammates were wrong and Bell decided to forfeit $14.5 million to prove a point: That he should not only be the highest paid running back, but one of the highest paid players in the league.

There are both pros and cons to this situation for the Steelers.

Let’s start with the cons of this situation. An injury to James Conner would be a huge setback.

It might sound crazy, but the top two players who can’t get injured are Big Ben and Conner. With Bell out, the depth at running back is weak with veteran Stevan Ridley and rookie Jaylen Samuels.

Having either of these players having 30-plus snaps a game is going to hurt the running game and would make the Steelers’ offense one-dimensional.

Another con to this situation is that the Steelers cannot run a two running back system.

There is no question if Bell returned he would get a high workload, but they would not stop playing Conner. Having two elite running backs would greatly improve the chances for a Super Bowl run for the Steelers, but now they need to run with Conner and hope for no injury.

One pro for this situation is that the drama of Bell is finally gone.

Even if he did show up, there would definitely be some locker room drama involving Bell, after many linemen had voiced their displeasure of Bell holding out. This could have affected the play of the Steelers and hurt the chances of a Super Bowl.

Another pro is that James Conner keeps getting his snaps. Yes, injury is a concern, but Bell would most likely not sign a contract for next year. Having Conner continue getting his reps will only help him, so his level of play can only improve for next year,

The last pro is that the Steelers now have $14.5 million to spend for next year. This could include signing free agents or offering players extensions. Either way the money will be put to good use.

The future for Bell is uncertain, but it is likely the Steelers will make an offer that Bell will reject, which would give the team a draft pick.

The question that is circulating is: Will this holdout help or hurt Bell next year?

Even though he suffered no injury this year, he also did not play for a whole year. It may hurt Bell’s chances of getting the huge deal he wants, as some teams might not want to risk that much money for a player who hasn’t played the game for a full year.

Bell’s holdout also showed that the Steelers’ running back situation is solid without Bell.  Many teams might rethink whether Bell’s talent is only from the Steelers’ offensive line and the system the Steelers run.

Bell also has lost the chance to be a part of a Super Bowl team if the Steelers do win it all this year.