I can say without a shadow of a doubt, the Steelers are better off putting the money they are dedicating to Lev Bell towards filling some big holes in that defense. They are a team that has a good offensive line and can fill the running back hole with free agents and James Connor. Ryan Shazier is not a hole they can fill with what they have lying around. It’s time the Steelers break free from players that put their own stats and themselves in front of the team goals.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are deficient in the secondary, although Haden improved that group greatly. They also were not able to get enough pressure on the quarterbacks of really good teams, and with the loss of Shazier, that will only get worse.
In years past, Pittsburgh has built defenses around extraordinary players Like Troy Polamalu and then Ryan Shazier. Both players used their speed and field presence to make big plays and control the field. The Steelers have had the luxury of building defenses around players like this. But when they leave the lineup, there is no one there to fill those gaps. There is no one on the sideline to carry that water.
The Steelers front office needs to start thinking long and hard about taking advantage of Ben’s final year or two before he shuffles off into the sunset. I realize they have built and offensive juggernaut, but it is proven in wins and losses that they are not significantly better with Bell then when he is not in the lineup. And in the late season and post season losses, it was the defense that did not show up when big stops were needed.
Running Back James Connor’s story is worth telling over and again. But if you look at his career thus far in the pro’s he is injury prone. They need to go out and pick up a back or two and use him in rotation instead of keeping Bell around. They could also draft a back or two. Let Washington or Dallas pony up $16 mill per season for 4 or 5 years for Bell. That’s over double what other backs are getting.
The Teams that were in the Super Bowl this past year lived with running backs by committee. The Patriots led with Dion Lewis but also had James White, and Rex Burkhead. As for the Eagles, they led with LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi. Without questions, None of those players are as good as Bell. But they all helped get their teams to the Big Game while not costing their team an arm and a leg.
If you add up all the player’s salaries I just listed, the totals come to half of what they Steelers are proposing to put out to Bell. (Total is just over $7 Million) This is a A Man that will not even come to training camp on time and OTA’s… good luck.
Le’Veon Bell is a super talented player, that has shown time and again that he puts himself before the team. He is also someone that has had just 1 Campaign in which he played all season where he was not suspended or injured or both. That is just too much money for a a guy that puts the name on the back his Jersey way ahead of the name on the front.