Tim Benz: NFL Reaches $ 9.5 Million for Steelers with Le'Veon Bell


47 minutes ago

The NFL may have given a $ 9.5 million favor to the Pittsburgh Steelers. And no one seemed to understand him.

When Kevin Colbert hosted his Q & A session with local media on February 20, he announced that the team would not use the transition tag during the Le'Veon Bell Run.

After a year-long contract fire war in 2018, this decision finally allowed Bell to become an unrestricted free agent.

Over the comments, Colbert indicated that the price of the transitional label would have been $ 14.54 million.

In itself, this passing revelation was worthy of interest.

After all, before this press conference, no one in the audience was certain that the price tag would be $ 14.54 million. For months, there was some uncertainty as to whether Bell would get such a high price because it was missing all of last year.

According to a school of thought, Bell's one-year absence would set the transition label at $ 9.5 million, the standard amount projected for a rollback.

Bell and its agent, Adisa Bakari, clearly wanted the figure to be $ 14.54 million since it was the 2018 contract offer offered by the Steelers via the "open" contract. franchise label.

The player had his wish. Because Colbert had volunteered at his press conference, the figure that the Steelers should have counted against their cap while Bell was scored, once again, would have been $ 14.54 million.

D & # 39; AGREEMENT. Why? How did this number come? Was there an arbitration decision that none of us knew about? Did the Steelers even bother to try to reduce it to $ 9.5 million? Was it a decision of the NFL Management Board?

And if the number had been lower, would the Steelers have run the risk of a Bell transition to $ 9.5 million, even though they had avoided it at $ 14.54 million? dollars?

None of these questions were asked this afternoon. I contacted the Steelers Media Relations department for more clarity. They referred me to the NFL instead.

I could not bring anyone to talk. However, the next day (February 21), at least one person from the league office told me by e-mail that there was no arbitration hearing and there was no that it was only an interpretation of the ABC. I was also told that any other details as to why the team had acted in this way with respect to the tag should come from the team itself.

Unfortunately, Colbert did not have any press conferences before this week at the NFL.

Fast forward to this interview on ProFootballTalk.com with Mike Florio and Chris Simms on Wednesday.

At 3:59 of the interview, Colbert and Florio had the following exchange:

Colbert: "We made the decision not to use the transition number because once determined the amount exceeding $ 14 million, we did not want this part of our salary cap to be kept for a stranger. "

Florio: "Who made that decision, was it a management board affair? Is there a grievance I do not know? I know that there were two opinions on what would be the transitional etiquette. How did it arrive at $ 14 million? "

Colbert: "This is the number they gave us."

I guess "they" refers to the NFL Board of Management, or another governing body of the league. This is also what Florio wrote in the corresponding story with the video of the interview.

Colbert developed this second response and repeated: "Once we had discovered that the figure would be $ 14.5 million, we said," No, we can not afford to keep that money. " "

There are two important points to extract from this discovery.

First of all, it's a big win for the players. This is an interpretation of the collective agreement by league management in favor of a player and against an organization. This sets a precedent for other agents if they decide to take their players on a path similar to Bell's.

Secondly, it seems clear that the Steelers would have been willing to make the transition from Bell to Bell if the price was $ 9.5 million, and the additional $ 5 million allocated to the cap drove this decision away.

Previously, I wrote that regardless of the transition pricing decision, I did not want the Steelers to brand Bell again. It would have been a futile effort. He was just not going to play on a tag here. Period.

Would it have been nice to control a potential commercial option for Bell or perhaps force him to pass a second consecutive year? Sure. It would have been fun.

If Bell wants to manipulate the rules to his advantage and hurt the Steelers, why would not the franchise have the same satisfaction of doing something similar to it?

If I'm Colbert, though, I'd rather have $ 9.5 million in more money than a little bit of satisfaction.

And perhaps an interpretation of the under-discussed league saved the Steelers from a major mistake.

Tim Benz is an editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be republished. All emails are subject to publication unless otherwise noted.

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