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Le'Veon Bell 2018 Outlook

tonycpsu

[Automated message: This outlook thread for the 2018 season will be locked on 2019-01-31. Please finish any 2018 discussions here, and take any 2019 outlook discussions to the 2019 outlook thread . If one does not exist, feel free to create one. Thanks!]

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15 hours ago, BGDDYKWL said:

First off, if he doesn't report in 8 days he's has cost himself $14M guaranteed. The odds of suffering a career ending injury are VERY slim. That means there is a great likelihood that he would've made $14M this year and still had the same (or better) market this upcoming offseason to sign with the highest bidder. There's not a statistical model on earth that would tell you the cost/risk associated with playing one year of football is greater than $14M dollars. If that were the case EVERY player would sit out the entire final year of their contract. He threw $14M out the window this year. If I think I'm worth $20M, and I can sign a one-year deal for $15M, and STILL try to get the $20M next year, I'd be an absolute idiot to just take the year off.

 

Fact #1: He's already lost most of that $14.5M guaranteed. If he reports on Nov 13 and the Steelers use the 2-week exemption and refuse to pay him for those two weeks, he would make $4.25M this year [5 weeks]. If he reported today and the Steelers agreed to pay him his full salary from this week until the end of the season, it would be 8 weeks for about $6.8M. Those are the upper and lower bounds of what he can possibly make this year from his salary, not counting playoffs.

 

Fact #2: Injury risk is not correlated with what week you're playing. You're equally likely to suffer a severe season-ending injury in week 1 [see DJ 2017] as week 14 (see MG3 2016). Any hit can be your last. While the cumulative risk his higher the more games you play, it's not at all clear to say that his risk is "very slim". And we don't need to be discussing career-ending injuries. A season-ending knee injury will reduce his value going into 2019, even if it's not career-ending. 

 

Fact #3: If the Steelers make the playoffs, it adds VERY little to his 2019 salary, but each playoff game carries identical injury risk to regular-season games. So coming back now, he might not be risking his body for 5 games @ $4.25M, he might be risking his body for up to 8-9 games depending on whether the Steelers are division winners or wild card, and whether they go to the SB, but those extra games get him only up to maybe $4.5M total [I posted a link upthread of how low the playoff salaries are, but don't want to search for it now].

 

Fact #4: Le'Veon bell is not sitting out a contract year. He wasn't under contract. A franchise tag is an *offer* of a contract. He didn't accept it. 

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10-12 touches in the Steelers offense is still almost better than a lot of RB2s this year. That’s assuming it’s 50/50 split coming back. I assume he will post RB2 numbers still with minimal touches. 

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3 minutes ago, Saltyseabass said:

10-12 touches in the Steelers offense is still almost better than a lot of RB2s this year. That’s assuming it’s 50/50 split coming back. I assume he will post RB2 numbers still with minimal touches. 

Also, Bell can lineup as a WR.  He's done so before, and it seems reasonable to utilize that skill set.

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On 11/3/2018 at 1:05 PM, Fantasy Gooroo said:

Over his five NFL seasons, all in Pittsburgh, Bell has averaged 128.9 yards from scrimmage per game, the best since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. He’s an every-down back and the Steelers’ second-leading receiver. His 2,215 yards from scrimmage in 2014 is a franchise record.

 

James Conner is this already?

Looks to be.  He's on pace for just 3 yards fewer per game than Bell had in 2014 which was by far the best season of his career.  He's also going to shatter Bell's best scoring mark.  

 

Bell is a nice player but the more success that Conner is having the more its looking like Bell could be the product of a system.  Pitt has gotten elite production from their RB regardless of who's starting (Conner, Williams).  Bell sitting out could be the best possible scenario for Pitt this year.  They see what they have in Conner who looks to be every bit the player and he's not the character risk.  

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3 minutes ago, HTM said:

Hypothetically, if Le'Veon does report... can the Steelers still apply for the roster exemption ruling Bell out of Week 12 & 13? 

 

Everything I've seen reported suggests yes. 

 

Article 20, Section 4(a) of the CBA deals with roster exemptions for players not under contract (i.e. Franchise tagged players). There is no discussion of limitations on the date at which they can be imposed. 

 

So yes. 

 

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2 hours ago, Godfather131 said:

 

 

EXACTLY.

 

With the amount of usage and tread on his tires already, he would've certainly be at risk of injury. To say otherwise and that it's slim that he isn't at risk of injury while getting close to 400 touches (which is what he would've likely done had he played this season) is simply wrong and uninformed.

 

To guarantee no injury and to guarantee that he is ready to rock for his next contract, the right move was to sit out. Conner being a stud certainly doesn't look good on him, but that is easy to say now with the benefit of hindsight.

 

A whole other debate would be how long he lasts once he DOES get his new contract. Does he flame out the way DeMarco Murray did? I personally think he has a couple elite years left in him, but that's it.

 

 

 

I don't trust that football's going to be a priority for him going forward after this year.  He's already shown that things like winning and teammates are at the bottom of his list of priorities so it could all be over when he gets that guaranteed money. 

 

While I think he's going to get a nice contract, I feel bad for the franchise that is going to give it to him.  There is a significant amount of risk given his miles, the fact that he could the product of a system and the character risk that he is (questionable teammate, questionable commitment to the sport, multiple drug suspensions).  I'd wager that Bell's production is going to drastically decline once he leaves Pitt (and I'm a Bell owner in a long standing keeper league).

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Can someone please explain to me Bell’s options/obligations of reporting y next Tuesday? I’ve read this a few times and I’m still confused. Is there a scenario where the franchise tag would be the “QB tag” and the Steelers would have to pay him $25 million?

 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/11/06/report-steelers-dont-expect-to-see-leveon-bell-this-week/amp/

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5 minutes ago, FreakFries said:

Can someone please explain to me Bell’s options/obligations of reporting y next Tuesday? I’ve read this a few times and I’m still confused. Is there a scenario where the franchise tag would be the “QB tag” and the Steelers would have to pay him $25 million?

 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/11/06/report-steelers-dont-expect-to-see-leveon-bell-this-week/amp/

 

1.  Bell does not have to sign next Tuesday to become a free agent next year (he's a vested veteran).

2.  Bell has to sign next Tuesday if he plans on playing at all this year.

3.  The "QB Tag" you're referring to is for next year (nothing to do with this year) - if he's gets tagged again by the Steelers for 2019 (3rd Franchise Tag), there's an condition that it could be the "QB Tag" value.

 

I'm sure bwarbiany or shark will correct me if made a mistake (or add more details if I'm lacking).

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28 minutes ago, bwarbiany said:

 

Everything I've seen reported suggests yes. 

 

Article 20, Section 4(a) of the CBA deals with roster exemptions for players not under contract (i.e. Franchise tagged players). There is no discussion of limitations on the date at which they can be imposed. 

 

So yes. 

 

 

Wouldn't he be under contract if he signs his tag? 

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4 minutes ago, Mr Boo said:

 

1.  Bell does not have to sign next Tuesday to become a free agent next year (he's a vested veteran).

2.  Bell has to sign next Tuesday if he plans on playing at all this year.

3.  The "QB Tag" you're referring to is for next year (nothing to do with this year) - if he's gets tagged again by the Steelers for 2019 (3rd Franchise Tag), there's an condition that it could be the "QB Tag" value.

 

I'm sure bwarbiany or shark will correct me if made a mistake (or add more details if I'm lacking).

 

If Bell doesn't play this year, he can be tagged again at the same level as this year. The "QB tag" only comes in if he signs the current tag and plays as I understand it.

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4 minutes ago, Mr Boo said:

 

1.  Bell does not have to sign next Tuesday to become a free agent next year (he's a vested veteran).

2.  Bell has to sign next Tuesday if he plans on playing at all this year.

3.  The "QB Tag" you're referring to is for next year (nothing to do with this year) - if he's gets tagged again by the Steelers for 2019 (3rd Franchise Tag), there's an condition that it could be the "QB Tag" value.

 

I'm sure bwarbiany or shark will correct me if made a mistake (or add more details if I'm lacking).

 

Pretty well nailed it there. 

 

As stated, it's been reported both ways regarding the 2019 tag. It might be a repeat of the 2nd tag, it might incur the 3rd.

 

The language I read in the CBA appears to suggest it would incur the third, but isn't entirely clear.

 

2 minutes ago, TheDoctor said:

 

Wouldn't he be under contract if he signs his tag? 

 

Yes, but that section says that the team and Bell have to agree in writing prior to him signing. So this could be another potential sticking point for Bell. 

 

Section 4. Roster Exemption:

(a) Certain Players Not Under Contract. After the final roster reduction a Club must agree in writing with an unsigned player who is either an Unrestricted Free Agent, Transition Player, or Franchise Player, prior to signing a Player Contract with such player, on what compensation, if any, the player will be paid if he is placed in a roster exempt status.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, oswald737 said:

 

If Bell doesn't play this year, he can be tagged again at the same level as this year. The "QB tag" only comes in if he signs the current tag and plays as I understand it.

 

1 minute ago, bwarbiany said:

As stated, it's been reported both ways regarding the 2019 tag. It might be a repeat of the 2nd tag, it might incur the 3rd.

 

The language I read in the CBA appears to suggest it would incur the third, but isn't entirely clear.

 

 

oswald737, per bwarbiany, I've seen it reported both ways as well.  I guess we'll see.  

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10 minutes ago, oswald737 said:

 

If Bell doesn't play this year, he can be tagged again at the same level as this year. The "QB tag" only comes in if he signs the current tag and plays as I understand it.

 

It's very much unclear. 

 

See below.

 

Note that it is specifically referring to a player who does not play in a league year. Then it refers to him being designated a third time, and doesn't have ANY language excusing the fact that a player chose not to play on the previous tag. That's the key language as I read it. The team designated him a franchise player a second time in 2018, and he chose not to play. For them to designate in 2019, I *think* is a third time. 

 

Article 10, Section 15(b)

Quote

(c) If any Franchise Player does not play in the NFL in a League Year, his Prior Team shall have the right to designate such player as a Franchise Player or a Transition Player the following League Year, if such designation is otherwise available to the Team, except that the applicable Tender must be made and any 120% Tender shall be measured from the Player’s Prior Year Salary. If such a player is redesignated as a Franchise Player for the League Year following the League Year in which he does not play, the player may be designated only under Section 2(a)(i) above, except that Draft Choice Compensation of only one first round draft selection and one third round draft selection 52 shall be made with respect to such player in the event he signs with the New Club. If such a player is designated as a Franchise Player for a third time, the terms of Section 2(b) above shall apply. If a Franchise Player who has sufficient Accrued Seasons to become an Unrestricted Free Agent is not designated as a Franchise Player or Transition Player for any League Year immediately following a League Year in which he does not play, then on the first day of that League Year, the player becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent and is completely free to negotiate and sign a Player Contract with any Club, and any Club is completely free to negotiate and sign a Player Contract with such player, without penalty or restriction, including, but not limited to, Draft Choice Compensation between Clubs or First Refusal Rights of any kind, or any signing period.

 

Section 2(b) referenced there also refers to designation, refers to "the date on which designation is made", etc, without regard to whether the player accepts the contract or not. 

 

My read of this is that the act of designating a player a Franchise player is the key aspect, regardless of whether or not he plays. So IMHO, and remembering that I am not a lawyer, I think it would be considered a 3rd tag at QB money. 

Edited by bwarbiany

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44 minutes ago, bwarbiany said:

 

Fact #1: He's already lost most of that $14.5M guaranteed. If he reports on Nov 13 and the Steelers use the 2-week exemption and refuse to pay him for those two weeks, he would make $4.25M this year [5 weeks]. If he reported today and the Steelers agreed to pay him his full salary from this week until the end of the season, it would be 8 weeks for about $6.8M. Those are the upper and lower bounds of what he can possibly make this year from his salary, not counting playoffs.

 

Fact #2: Injury risk is not correlated with what week you're playing. You're equally likely to suffer a severe season-ending injury in week 1 [see DJ 2017] as week 14 (see MG3 2016). Any hit can be your last. While the cumulative risk his higher the more games you play, it's not at all clear to say that his risk is "very slim". And we don't need to be discussing career-ending injuries. A season-ending knee injury will reduce his value going into 2019, even if it's not career-ending. 

 

Fact #3: If the Steelers make the playoffs, it adds VERY little to his 2019 salary, but each playoff game carries identical injury risk to regular-season games. So coming back now, he might not be risking his body for 5 games @ $4.25M, he might be risking his body for up to 8-9 games depending on whether the Steelers are division winners or wild card, and whether they go to the SB, but those extra games get him only up to maybe $4.5M total [I posted a link upthread of how low the playoff salaries are, but don't want to search for it now].

 

Fact #4: Le'Veon bell is not sitting out a contract year. He wasn't under contract. A franchise tag is an *offer* of a contract. He didn't accept it. 

If his reasoning for sitting the first ten weeks was to limit injury risk, I think what you outline here completely refutes that notion, and I would tend to agree with it. My commentary was referring more to him just not accepting the franchise tag, earning the $14M, and likely remaining healthy enough to be at 100% by the beginning of next season. You bring up a very good point for those in the minimize injury risk camp. Signing now and playing the second half and then essentially unpaid playoff games would perhaps be the dumbest thing he could do if health was his primary concern.

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20 minutes ago, Mr Boo said:

 

1.  Bell does not have to sign next Tuesday to become a free agent next year (he's a vested veteran).

2.  Bell has to sign next Tuesday if he plans on playing at all this year.

3.  The "QB Tag" you're referring to is for next year (nothing to do with this year) - if he's gets tagged again by the Steelers for 2019 (3rd Franchise Tag), there's an condition that it could be the "QB Tag" value.

 

I'm sure bwarbiany or shark will correct me if made a mistake (or add more details if I'm lacking).

 

Thanks all for explaining this to me. 

 

Seems like there might be some ambiguity regarding the 2nd or 3rd tag. 

 

I am still confused on the free agency part: he’s a free agent but the Steelers can still tag him if they want (regardless of 2nd or 3rd)?

 

This looks like it could be a GIAGANTIC mess if he doesn’t show up, Steelers tag him again and then they start fighting over whether it’s a 2nd or 3rd tag. That could take another year (see Zeke/R Goodell) and then once that’s resolved, who knows if Bell shows up?!

 

I just picked Bell up off waivers. Beginning to wonder... should I drop him for a ham sandwich?

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9 minutes ago, FreakFries said:

 

I am still confused on the free agency part: he’s a free agent but the Steelers can still tag him if they want (regardless of 2nd or 3rd)?

 

This looks like it could be a GIAGANTIC mess if he doesn’t show up, Steelers tag him again and then they start fighting over whether it’s a 2nd or 3rd tag. That could take another year (see Zeke/R Goodell) and then once that’s resolved, who knows if Bell shows up?!

 

I just picked Bell up off waivers. Beginning to wonder... should I drop him for a ham sandwich?

 

Yes. The tag exists to allow teams to keep players who ordinarily would leave in FA, albeit at a very high price. Hence why they had to pay him the average of the top 5 RBs in 2016, and then had to increase his offer by 20% for 2017. So he's a free agent, but they have the opportunity to tag him again if they so choose.

 

BTW if they tried to give him the exclusive tag again, I'm guessing this would go to the NFL for arbitration and they'd deliberately move quickly on a ruling. The NFL would have every incentive to not let this linger into the 2019 season. That said, I don't think the Steelers would give him the exclusive tag again. It doesn't make sense for them, and I think they're done with Bell at this point.

 

As for dropping him? If you have him now, wait this out until next Tuesday. I think it's very unlikely, but there's still a chance he can report and be of some value. If he doesn't report by Tuesday, you've lost what, a one-week roster spot? A lot of folks in this thread have effectively lost their whole seasons waiting on Bell, so 1 week is nothing. 

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There is some wiggle room in the CBA on that point.  Apparently there is an argument that the Steelers would have to use a third tag in 2019, whether Bell ever reports this year or not.  

 

One thing to consider is the Steelers may not want to use the 2nd or 3rd tag on Bell next year.  Because Bell might actually sign it, and teams must stay under the salary cap at all times.

 

I think at this point Bell has to decide if it helps him for next year to report this year, be roster exempted for two weeks without pay, and potentially be a part-time player down the stretch.

 

I do not know what type of shape he is in.  If Bell reports before 11-13-2018, things get very interesting, but Conner will still likely be the lead back.  If Bell does not report by 11-13-2018 by 4:00 p.m. EST, he will be ineligible to play for the Steelers or any other NFL team during the 2018 season.

Edited by SharkSwimmer

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5 minutes ago, SharkSwimmer said:

There is some wiggle room in the CBA on that point.  Apparently there is an argument that the Steelers would have to use a third tag in 2019, whether Bell ever reports this year or not.  

 

One thing to consider is the Steelers may not want to use the 2nd or 3rd tag on Bell next year.  Because Bell might actually sign it, and teams must stay under the salary cap at all times.

 

I think at this point Bell has to decide if it helps him for next year to report this year, be roster exempted for two weeks without pay, and potentially be a part-time player down the stretch.

 

I do not know what type of shape he is in.  If Bell reports before 11-13-2018, things get very interesting, but Conner will still likely be the lead back.  If Bell does not report by 11-13-2018 by 4:00 p.m. EST, he will be ineligible to play for the Steelers or any other NFL team during the 2018 season.

No doubt, Conner earned it

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I thought Bell had to play the six games to get this year counted as year two of the franchise tag and have a tag next year equate to top QB money.  Tom Pelissero on NFL Network says this isn't the case according to the NFL Management Council and NFLPA, and that even if Bell doesn't play a single game the franchise tag next year would count as year three of the tag and give him top QB money.  So in regards to playing in order to progress the franchise tag, there is supposedly no motivation whatsoever at this point.  That is contrary to everything I've come to understand to this point, but I'll take his word on it.

 

If that is true then I could see Bell just not coming back at all so as to let his past tape speak for his negotiations next year, as opposed to tape of him not being in football shape for these next few weeks, as well as to eliminate any injury risk before signing a long term contract.

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9 minutes ago, CharlesCC2 said:

I thought Bell had to play the six games to get this year counted as year two of the franchise tag and have a tag next year equate to top QB money.  Tom Pelissero on NFL Network says this isn't the case according to the NFL Management Council and NFLPA, and that even if Bell doesn't play a single game the franchise tag next year would count as year three of the tag and give him top QB money.  So in regards to playing in order to progress the franchise tag, there is supposedly no motivation whatsoever at this point.  That is contrary to everything I've come to understand to this point, but I'll take his word on it.

 

 

Thanks for posting the source. We've been going back and forth on this based upon only one published report to date from several weeks ago saying the same thing, so this is now a second source corroborating that it's a third tag.

 

If that's the case, I can't see Bell reporting this year. Steelers won't give him a third tag, and if they were dumb enough to do it, he'd probably sign it because that's 1-year guaranteed at probably $23-25M, which is probably better than he'd get guaranteed in a long-term contract after sitting out this year. 

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FF Bottom Lines:

1.  If you own Bell, hold till end of the November 13 to see if he signs (as bwarbiany's recommended multiple times now).

2.  If Bell is on your waivers, pick him up (if you have space, judgement call) and hold till end of November 13 to see if he signs.

3.  If you own Conner, hold indefinitely - even if Bell signs, hold Conner and keep tabs on any usage news.

4.  If you want to trade for/away Bell...that's a judgement call....

5.  If you want to trade for/away Conner...that's another judgement call....

Edited by Mr Boo

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If Bell doesn't report, the Steelers can franchise tag him again next year, but WON'T. I think I heard the price would be at $20 million...no way the Steelers do that with Conner playing so well.

 

Also, if Bell goes to another team as a FA next year, Steelers will get a draft pick as high as a 3rd rounder. So franchise tag him and risk spending a ton of money or risk having him sit out again and not get anything? 

 

They'll keep Conner, Bell will leave in free agency, and the Steelers will get a 3rd round pick. They won't use the transition tag either.

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8 minutes ago, tpat30 said:

 

Also, if Bell goes to another team as a FA next year, Steelers will get a draft pick as high as a 3rd rounder. So franchise tag him and risk spending a ton of money or risk having him sit out again and not get anything? 

 

 

I don't think this is accurate. I think this is the case with a restricted free agent, but not an unrestricted free agent [which is what Bell is as he's accrued >=4 seasons].


 

Quote

 

Section 1. Unrestricted Free Agents:

(a) Subject to the provisions of Section 5 below and of Article 10, any player with four or more Accrued Seasons shall, at the expiration of his Player Contract, become an Unrestricted Free Agent. Such player shall be completely free to negotiate and sign a Player Contract with any Club, and any Club shall be completely free to negotiate and sign a Player Contract with such player, without penalty or restriction, including, but not limited to, Draft Choice Compensation between Clubs or First Refusal Rights of any kind, subject to the signing period set forth below.

 

 

If you read the section about restricted free agents, a team has the right to match offers from another team and if they choose not to match, they get compensation. But for an unrestricted free agent, there is no compensation...

 

Perhaps others here can offer more clarity, as I'm not 100% sure on this point, but it seems pretty clear in the CBA. 

 

[Note: section 5 mentioned above has to do with no-trade clauses, and Article 10 is re: Franchise/Transition tags, so none of those provisions would apply here if they don't tag him again as Bell doesn't have a contract so he can't have a no-trade clause.]

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