Bell wants to be paid as a No. 1 running back and a No. 2 receiver, which isn’t likely to happen. Last year, Bell had 1,268 yards on the ground, and he was still Pittsburgh’s second-leading receiver with 616 yards. But his production doesn’t matter. Teams don’t value feature backs at $15 million per year. Still, Bell deserved a long-term deal from Pittsburgh, and now there’s no chance of that until 2018.
Holding out won’t change the fact that Bell’s options are limited. He can either sign the tag and play this season, or he can sit out and lose a paycheck for every week of the regular season he misses. The time has passed for the Steelers to offer him a long-term deal, so that $12 million is the best Bell is going to do this year.
Brown is under contract for two more seasons, and the team doesn’t have a sense of urgency about getting an extension done. General manager Rick Smith went so far as to say the team has no contract dispute with Brown. But considering that Brown skipped OTAs and mandatory minicamp and is now staying home from training camp, it’s pretty obvious this is a holdout.
The three-year rule is especially pertinent under the current CBA. With rookies locked into four-year contracts, teams have the 2017 season to decide whether their 2014 draft picks are worth keeping around. They also need to make a decision on their first-round picks, who are eligible for a fifth-year option in 2018 but could also see a massive extension if they’re good enough.
The 2013 draft was largely a dud, but thankfully there were a lot more interesting players in the 2014 draft. Just a quick scan of the first round reveals star players who walked in and immediately made their teams better. There are also a handful of infamous busts, some of whom involve the same team (look away, Cleveland Browns fans!). Nevertheless, this was a vast improvement on 2013 and could end up being one of the best drafts of the modern era when all is said and done.