What Bell needs just to break even
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11-16-2018, 02:32 AM

A good read from a sister site (thanks Flippy):

I'm glad we can move on from this whole ordeal, but I got to wondering, what does Bell need at a minimum in his next contract to declare victory?

Over the last 2 seasons, Bell has made $12m. Had he signed the Steelers offer in 2017, he would have made $18m more, or $30m, and have roughly $12m coming next 2 seasons and been able to get another big contract at 28.

If Bell signed the long term agreement this year, he would have made about $29m over the last 2 years, with about $12m coming the following 2 seasons and a chance to renegotiate a long term deal at 29.

To break even with the 2018 offer from the Steelers, Bell needs to get $23m x 3 over the next 3 years. But here's where the real issue for Bell's ability to maximize his money. If he does a 5 year deal, he'll be 32 when his contract ends now. Who in their right mind would do a big deal with any RB post 30? No one. So Bell is effectively giving up the biggest deal he could have gotten in his next contract. The big issue isn't giving up $14.5m this year. It's Bell setting himself up for a contract that expires when he's in his 30s and missing a huge deal. The last offer was 70m. If it grew by 20% when his contract was coming up (assuming he's negotiating hard and being greedy, that would be an $84m-$100m deal at 28 or 29 vs negotiating a first big deal at 27 and then being washed up before he gets to the next big deal.

So not only does Bell have to get to $23m/yr to break even, he should be looking for a bump (even the Steelers offer went up from 2017 to 201[Image: icon_cool.gif], plus he's got to figure out how he can make up for that next $84-$100m deal he's gonna miss because of age.

Bottom line, Bell could get $30m/yr guaranteed as the top paid player in the league and it wouldn't be enough to make up on what he'll miss on the next contract.

If you are Bell or his agent, what would you prefer:

1. $66m + new contract at 28 (took 2017 deal from Steelers) - estimate $66m + $84m = $150m
2. $69m + new contract at 29 (took 2018 deal from Steelers) - estimate $69m + $100m = $169m
3. $12m + first 4 years of new contract + next contract at 31 - estimate $12m + $68m = $80m + new contract at 31 (assuming he got the $17m/yr he alleged wanted last year, he'd have to get a $89m in guaranteed money after 31)

I know there's looks of variables and these are just guesstimates, but the numbers look awful for Le'Veon when you consider the next contract that he likely won't get.

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(This post was last modified: 11-16-2018, 02:32 AM by Chucktownsteeler.)
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11-16-2018, 05:04 AM

Stupid is as stupid does. Or is it pride goeth before the fall. Either works in my view.
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11-16-2018, 11:29 PM

What Le'Veon Bell Said "No" To
By cassidy977 on Nov 14, 2018, 10:04pm EST

After Le'veon Bell’s ultimate no-show at yesterday’s franchise tag tender signing deadline, Ben Roethlisberger spoke for many/most of us: "now we can finally stop talking about this." I play the "what-if" game more than Mike Tomlin, but I’m generally in Big Ben’s camp here. I wish the Pittsburgh Steelers had a more firm backup plan behind James Conner, but it will be nice to move on from Bell’s childish "will he or won’t he" cat-&-mouse game, and (as so many Steelers have said) focus on the guys who are here.

But before turning the corner, I have one bone to pick with the conversation surrounding Bell’s misguided crusade against the tag. Most of Bell’s defenders have claimed that he is justified in maximizing his earnings because the careers of running backs are so short; many also claimed that "he knows his worth" or that he doing this for other running backs, who are being low-balled; others have claimed he needs to "take care of his family"; still others have observed that the franchise tag limits a player’s freedom and is therefore unjust or even oppressive.

I want to call shenanigans on all of that. Every bit.

Bell turned up his nose at $14.5million this season; by not showing up Tuesday, he turned down $6million; and of course, he walked away from $855,000 per game this season. That money is all guaranteed, according to the franchise tag. On the Trib’s website, Zach Brendza recently broke down what that money would buy, in terms of Iron City Beer and admission tickets to Kennywood. That’s a funny move, but I wanted to look at the real world potential of that money. So below is a small table of what Bell decided was beneath him.

Typical American Incomes

The median household income in the USA is $56,616. Individuals in Bell's age group (25-34) earn $40,352. This means Bell’s $14.5m would allow the average household to maintain for 257 years, and he said "no" to the kind of money that would sustain 359 of his peers. Every single week, his salary would have paid 21 people for an entire year.

How about some necessary, even heroic jobs that exist around the country? Across the U.S., the median salary for:

Police officer: $43,000

Firefighter: $43,000

Teacher: $38,700 (starting salary)

EMT: $32,600

Bell’s franchise tag offer could have put 330 more cops on the street or firefighters in the field. To play for one week, he could have funded 22 first responders for a year. To put it another way, he could have funded one cop or firefighter for 22 years. (If you're reading this in California, you're already aware of how useful it would be to have some more firefighting boots on the ground.) His tagged salary could also have put 439 paramedics/EMTs in business – that’s nearly 10 per state.

But the real killer to me is that he could have funded 375 new teachers across the country – that’s seven or eight teachers per state, across the entire country. If that many teachers were added to the rolls in Pennsylvania – or in Pittsburgh alone – it would be generation-changing. Even if he’d showed up on Tuesday, signed the tender, and immediately faked an injury (like James Harrison suggested) he’d collect enough cash to fund 155 new teachers for a year. Every week, he turned up his nose at the kind of money that would fund 22 new teachers for a year. Every week.


The average 2-bedroom apartment in Pittsburgh costs $1360/mo or $16320/year.

The average 2-bedroom apartment, nationally, costs $1180/mo or $14160/year.

By these numbers, Bell’s franchise tender could have paid the rent for 888 Pittsburgh families (or 1024 families across the country). That’s enough money to pay a month’s rent at 10,662 two-bed apartments in town (12,288 nationwide). I don't even know if there are 10,662 two-bed apartments in Pittsburgh (probably, but still)… Every week, he said no to the kind of money that could have put 52 Pittsburgh families in a two-bed flat for a year (or 629 of them for a month).

Health Care

The average cost of individual health insurance, nationwide, is $321, which comes out to $3852 for the year. Bell’s franchise tender could have covered the health insurance costs for 3764 Americans for a year – or 45,171 for one month of care. (One game check, which wasn't nearly enough for Bell, could have subsidized 222 Americans’s health care for an entire year.)


Tuition for a four-year degree at University of Pittsburgh runs $72,400 ($18,100/year). At Carnegie Mellon, it runs $210,800, if a student pays full tuition out of pocket (that’s $52,700/year). At Michigan State, meanwhile, Bell’s Alma Mater, a four year degree will cost you $57,800 ($14,450/year). And finally, at Ohio State, in Bell’s hometown of Columbus, Ohio, it will cost you $38,872 ($9,718/year).

Bell’s franchise tender could have covered full tuition for 200 Pitt students for their entire four year degrees (that’s 800 years of full-time study). Even at CMU, he’d have the means to cover 69 students for four years (or 276 years). Each week, Bell said no to the level of wealth that could have covered 16 CMU students (or 48 Pitt Panthers), at full tuition, for a year.

The money Bell rejected for one year of football could have paid for the entire four-year tuition of 373 college students in Bell’s hometown. That’s 1492 years of college (or, the number of years between Christ and Columbus’s landfall in the Caribbean).

Finally, the average student loan burden on the class of 2016 is $37,100. Bell (who carries zero student loan debt, having played on a full-ride in college, where he didn’t graduate) scoffed at the kind of money that could release 391 of those Americans from their burden. That’s 23 lives changed forever with every game check.

What About Those Who Really Need It?

Those on SNAP/foot stamps across America get an average of $126/month, or $1,512 in food stamps per year.

Bell’s franchise tender could have subsidized 9,590 of them for an entire year. Or at least paid for a month of food stamps for 115,079 struggling Americans.

Each week that he dithered as to whether he wanted to return this week or next, he shrugged his shoulders at the kind of money that could have fed 565 people for an entire year (or 6,786 for a month).

Let’s Think Big

The entire federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts is $147million. There is so often a debate about the NEA or other common-good projects like NPR (budget: $180m, only 16% of which comes from taxes, so $29m) – they’re used to illustrate "wasteful spending" as though they are a massive drain on our national resources and the cause our recessions.

Le'veon Bell, this fall, turned his back on the kind of money that would have accounted for 10% of the entire federal funding for the NEA, and 50% of the entire tax funding that goes to NPR. Money guaranteed to one 26 year old, who’s already a millionaire, to carry a football a few times per game (though not too many, of course).

What does this mean for Bell’s life?

Apologists often assert that a running back’s career only lasts two or three years, so it’s natural for them to demand the highest salary possible. After all, most Americans have 30 years to build their wealth. Well, the threshold for being in the top 1% of wealthiest Americans is $389,486/year. Bell’s one year franchise tender would be equal to 37 years at that level.

This can be understood best with a thought experiment:

Let’s say Bell signed his tender on time, then turned around and broke his femur, ending his career. Let’s say he doesn’t have a dime in savings, never makes an endorsement again, never becomes a talking head on NFL Network, never coaches – in fact, let’s say he never collects another paycheck of any kind for the rest of his life, and only holds it in investments that will keep up with cost-of-living and inflation. He’ll still live at the 1% level until he’s 63 years old. That’s insane.

Also, not to put to fine a point on it, but that's the national 1%. In Pennsylvania, that threshold is lower, at $360k, and in Bell's native Ohio, it is $317k. That would allow Bell to stay at the 1% level for 40 years and 46 years, respectively.

That anyone could ever claim that a 26 year old running back, no matter how talented, is intrinsically worth more than that (again, keeping in mind what teachers make) is one of the most depressing things I can think of.

And Just Because I’m Petty

A low-end jet ski costs around $5,400. Le'veon Bell’s franchise tender could have bought him 2685 of them. Every week he could have bought himself 158.

And, in Oregon, an ounce of pot costs $187. That means every week that Le'veon Bell didn’t report, he turned his back on 286 pounds of dope (the equivalent weight of Cameron Heyward, in legal weed). On the year, he could have made enough to buy 2.5 tons.

I feel this kind of disgust every time I see people argue about a player’s "worth" (as though teachers, cops, firefighters, and EMT’s are worth less just because their jobs are built on selflessness and service), or talk about a player "taking care of his family" or "his future" (do these guys have 600 kids? are they going to live to be 1000?). But every once in a while, I max out and can’t hold my tongue. This is one of those times. Let’s hope the Le'veon Bell conversation truly is over. But I’d have hated myself if I never laid it out like this.

Rant over. Go Steelers.

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11-19-2018, 02:08 AM

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11-22-2018, 11:31 AM

Great post Chuck... I think the description of Bell is overly impressed with his own significance.

That said, his life, his choice. Doesn’t make sense to me much, but it ain’t my millions he just P*ssed away.

Classic example why personal economics should be a requirement to graduate from high school.

The sad thing about what you posted is the whole purpose of the NFL is to sell beer, pickup trucks, and pizza. Sadly, it’s become a media event much more than a sport.

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