Rife with juicy narratives, the NFL remains one of the nation’s most original and long-standing reality shows. From August through February, the drama is televised in hour-long episodes. Throughout the spring and summer, the intrigue spills beyond the sticks, enticing viewers with tales of cunning, redemption, and betrayal. At the center of these unfolding plot lines, there often exists a player. Whether they’re returning from injury, moving teams, or grasping at relevance, these men captivate our attention.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be examining the 10 most interesting players of the offseason. As their situations develop, updates will be made to each story. The hope is that this becomes a hub of conversation for the league’s most compelling names … and devoted aficionados.
Antonio Brown has been the latest Steelers’ star to make headlines, but Bell spent most of 2018 stunting in the off-field spotlight. As far back as January of last year, the three-time Pro Bowl talent spoke honestly about sitting out were his financial goals not met. Pittsburgh countered by engaging in a months-long game of chicken, choosing to franchise the stud RB for the second consecutive season. Under the tag, Bell was set to earn $14.5 million.
The twenty-six-year-old refused to sign his franchise tender, claiming he wanted more guaranteed money and a long-term deal. Interestingly, the Rams signed Todd Gurley to a four-year, $60 million extension heading into the fall. It’s likely Bell expected TG3’s big-money deal to sway the Steelers, but as we all know by now … that didn’t happen. Despite the balking of teammates, Bell punted on 2018, jet skiing in Miami, squeezing that Juice flow, and opening the door for James Conner.
Heading into 2019, question marks continue to surround the former Michigan State Spartan. Days away from his twenty-seventh birthday, there are whispers that Pittsburgh may use the transition tag on the All-Pro tailback. The move would only be made by the franchise as a way to recoup some cash and flip the disgruntled player. Regardless, Bell’s days as a Killer Bee are over.
Reportedly seeking a deal that pays him $17 million annually and guarantees $45 million, the five-year vet is enjoying the attention and speculation over his potential landing spot. While the internet has mixed emotions about Bell’s strategy, there’s no denying that he is 100 percent betting on himself. That’s particularly gutsy, especially on the heels of a postseason that featured the productive likes of Damien Williams and C.J. Anderson.
it’s just a great feeling when you’re appreciated…isn’t it? 👀
— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) February 8, 2019
While it’s hard to fathom teams paying-up for a running back in 2019, it’s even harder to imagine that a thirsty front office won’t make a head-scratching deal. Regardless of the money, football enthusiasts are interested to see how this drama unfolds. Whether Bell goes to Indianapolis (a desire he’s hinted at on IG), Baltimore, New York (Jets), or a yet-to-be-determined location, spectators are locked in on his off/preseason whereabouts.
According to #footballtwitter, 👀Bell watch👀 is in full effect. Where do YOU think the stud RB is likely to land???
— Liz Loza (@LizLoza_FF) February 14, 2019
Undoubtedly, any team willing to pay for Bell is going to use him. One could argue that fresh legs make him an automatic first-round fantasy grab, but I’m concerned about rust and durability after considerable time away from the game. After all, this is a player who has only managed one sixteen-effort campaign over five years. For right now, I’m enjoying the show, but I’m not sure I want to invest in it.
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