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Report: Le’Veon Bell may sit for the first half of 2018

Show me the money

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the middle of a very public contract standoff with their star running back and offensive centerpiece Le’Veon Bell. They have used whatever leverage they can find to try to justify not paying top dollar for the former second round pick, and that has led to some consternation between the two parties.

Bell (correctly) sees himself as one of the top offensive weapons in the entire sport, and Bell feels he should be paid commensurate to his talent and performance. Unfortunately for him, injuries and suspensions have provided Pittsburgh with the aforementioned leverage to not get a deal done up to this point.

The tension appears to be coming to a head, and ESPN Insider Adam Schefter believes the saga may drag into the start of the regular season if it stays unresolved.

Schefter’s phrasing is interesting here. He is arguably the most well connected reporter in the industry, so it would not be out of the ordinary for him to have insider perspective about Bell’s mindset ahead of training camp. However, with no clear reference to a source, it is also possible that Schefter is simply speculating on Bell’s course of action if he does not receive a contract.

Regardless, this would be a huge loss for a Steelers offense that has proven to be limited, and sometimes completely ineffective, without Bell in the lineup. It would be an especially big hit considering Ben Roethlisberger is nearing the end of his career and needs all the support he can get offensively.

The Ravens square off on the road against the Steelers in Week 4, so Bell would presumably miss that game if things play out according to Schefter’s prediction. Beyond just the first match up between the two rivals, the Steelers have some tough games against the Chiefs, Falcons and Bengals early in the season, which could all be heavily impacted if Bell is not starting.

For the sake of the Ravens, let’s hope this strings itself out for as long as possible.

Update from National Insider for NFL Network Ian Rapoport:

Update from Adam Schefter: