If I’m wrong, I’m wrong, but I don’t think I will be when I say getting a first round pick for Le’Veon Bell is almost impossibly. The bar has been set with recent trades of big name players, such as a first round pick for Wide Receiver Brandin Cooks who was coming off of three strait 1000 receiving seasons. Brandin Cooks had played a full 16 games in this three seasons. This season will be the fifth of his career.
Another recent notable trade involving a couple first round picks – Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears. The Bears traded two first round picks, a third round pick and a sixth round pick for Mack, a second round pick and a fifth round pick. Mack is entering his fifth year, playing 16 games in each season leading up to this one. He has averaged 11+ sacks each of the last three seasons. Mack is THE ONLY PLAYER IN NFL HISTORY to be named an AP All-Pro at two positions. This isn’t a joke, he made the All-Pro list at two positions.
There are a few other cases, but my point is that both of these players were in the peak of their form when traded, and warranted the first round pick. I have been defending Le’Veon Bell’s decision since the start of this circus, for the simple fact that he technically can do whatever he wants. We get so wrapped up in the whole “Shouldn’t he want to play football? Doesn’t he love the sport? Doesn’t he love his teammates? Why doesn’t he want to win?” And those are all reasonable questions. Just as reasonable as a human not going to work to try and garnish a larger payload for the work they feel they are able to receive.
Now in my opinion, this decision to trade Bell should have come a lot sooner. Before the strip club and jet ski videos in Miami especially. I have no issue with him sitting out from a personal perspective, but at the same time you have to respect the teams choice to move on without Bell.
The one down side to this whole entire situation is that the Steelers will never receive Bell’s full worth in a trade. Le’Veon Bell has only played a full season once in 2014. In 2015, Bell got busted on DUI and marijuana possession charges. He later suffered a season-ending torn MCL. In 2016, Bell was suspended the first three games of the season for violating the substance abuse policy.
On the other side of that coin is the fact that Le’Veon Bell has been one of the most electric running back in NFL history. Bell has three 1k rushing seasons, as well as three seasons with over 600 receiving yards. In his five seasons, Bell has an average of 28 touches per game, an average of 128 yards per game on the ground and in the air, and 42 total touchdowns. Dude is an elite talent and that’s indisputable.
What is disputable, however, is the fact that Bell has missed significant time over the course of his career and has now missed (since he is not playing against the Bucs on Monday Night) three NFL games. The reason this is relevant is if a team expects Bell to come in and help them win a Super Bowl, he’s going to need some “ease in” time. Bell missed all of the preseason last year and took about two games to get his normal wheels under him.
The other aspect of this entire conversation that some people aren’t seeing is that if we do not trade Bell, a team will have to give up a lost less (nothing) to get him as a free agent next season. Cap space is another massive part of this transaction. Whoever signs Bell will have to pay him the remainder of his franchise tag, as well as the large contract he wanted from the Steelers. A team will not trade for Bell just to offer him less money and go through this entire circus again.
There are five teams that have the reason and cap space to trade for Bell. The Colts, the Jets, the 49ers, the Texans and the Browns all need help at the running back position and have the cap space. Other teams with the cap space include the Jaguars, Titans and Cowboys.
I had a strong belief that the 49ers would make this deal for Bell, but with Jerrick McKinnon already signed to a hefty contract and franchise quarterback looking like he tore his ACL in the game this week, I highly doubt they spend the money and the trade parts on a player for a season they might have already thrown in the towel for.
You can’t imagine the Colts or the Jets thin they’re a running back away from a Super Bowl, and the Browns seem out of the question for the pure fact that I don’t think the Steelers would deal to their up and coming divisional rivals. That leaves the Texans. The Texans have Lamar Miller, who has largely underperformed since his departure from Miami. The Texans are 0-3 but have an excellent WR core and a young, hungry QB in Watson.
What it comes down to if you REALLY think that Le’Veon Bell is still going to garnish a first overall pick then I need to see some tweets or texts proving you didn’t think he was a burnt out complete bum earlier this week. Obviously that’s a joke, but if Steelers fans feel this way and the rest of the NFL knows the position were in, what is the true value?
One things for sure. DAMN does Conner look good.