If I were Le’Veon Bell, I’d sign the franchise tender and take $855k per game.
If I were Bell, I’d have accepted the Steelers’ offer of $70m over five years.
But I don’t blame Bell and his agent, Adisa Bakari, for wanting to protect Bell from the wear and tear of 400-plus touches in the season that precedes Bell’s free agency. Listen to Bakari’s interview (see below). That appears a big concern.
One of the dumbest things Coach Mike Tomlin ever said was when he fairly boasted about running Willie Parker “until the wheels fall off.”
Parker got 368 touches in 2006, then 344 touches in 2007. Parker started getting hurt in ’08, missing five games, and then ’09 was his last season. Parker played just six years in the NFL.
That quote has followed Tomlin around. It sure seems like Bell and Bakari are familiar with it.
Tomlin has no obligation to look out for Bell, and clearly won’t.
So don’t blame Bell when he looks out for himself.
Here's a Bell quote from January that seems very pertinent now: "I'm not going out there getting the ball 400 times if I'm not getting what I feel I'm valued at."