Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell was removed from the team's roster for Week 3, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. The Steelers are scheduled to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and are still winless two weeks into the regular season. There are no indications Bell plans on reporting to the team anytime soon.
Steelers’ Week 3 roster is missing No. 26. Le’Veon Bell scrubbed from the notes. pic.twitter.com/Tb1nViaEXr
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) September 19, 2018
Bell appears to be betting big on free agency in 2019, as he misses out on nearly $1 million for each game he sits out this season. With his franchise tag, he would command a prorated amount of $14.5 million this year.
Over the summer, the Steelers offered Bell a five-year, $70 million deal. That sounds great, but the deal involved a lot of risk. His signing bonus offer for the deal was $10 million, which is nothing compared to the $21 million in guaranteed money that Todd Gurley received in his deal with the Los Angeles Rams this year.
After the first year of the Steelers' $70 million offer, they would retain the option to release Bell, potentially leaving him without a large sum of the money in the deal. He was set to earn $33 million over the course of the first two years of the deal. The rest would be determined by a rolling guaranteed structure. Running backs don't last long in the NFL, so it's unlikely that Bell, now 26, would be able to perform at a level high enough to earn the rest of his money by the time he is 31.
Rather than racking up mileage through hundreds of touches with the Steelers this season, Bell has chosen to preserve his body to prepare for a team that will pay him what he thinks he deserves next year.
Meanwhile, the Steelers are also dealing with Antonio Brown drama as they try to get in the win column.