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Old 09-08-2018, 08:15 PM
Airman Doors, USAF Airman Doors, USAF is offline
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The 16th Annual Steelers March to the Super Bowl Thread

It's that time of the year when the NFL starts playing games that count, so of course it's time for me to compose my yearly paean, the 16th, to the best football team in the world. This year is already a hot mess, though, so I find myself somewhat apprehensive. Nevertheless, I'm excited for the season because, well, football. So let's get to it.

The hot mess comment above refers directly to the Le'Veon Bell situation. I've given this a lot of thought, unfortunately, and I still can't decide if either party is wrong. The Steelers are doing the right thing for them by applying the Franchise tag, admittedly at great cost, and they made a great offer, at the time the best offer ever made to a running back, which Bell rejected.

Here's the rub from the team's perspective: no running back is worth what Bell wants, not even Bell. The Rams are rolling the dice with Gurley, but if he drops off like virtually all running backs do after a couple of years they're saddled with a white elephant that will hurt them for years. The Steelers are also wary of the fact that he can't stay off the shiat, and the next suspension is a year-long one. Add to that his injury history and they felt like they needed an escape clause later in the contract. If he had kept clean and continued to produce they would have kept him unreservedly, they know what they have with Bell. It was a top-shelf offer in today's NFL.

Bell's argument is more straightforward: he only has one big contract and he wants it to be as big as possible. Call it ego, vanity, or simple fiscal prudence, he turned it down for more. Alas for him, there is no more. Under the Franchise tag he can only play for the Steelers this year unless they release him, which they will never do, and no further negotiation is possible even if it were desired. Play or don't play.

He's not playing.

He has now given up a game check, which for him is around $900000. This has offended his teammates, who perceive that he's saving himself for his next team at the expense of his current one. These are the same teammates who had his back all throughout this process under the assumption that he would show up ready to go when the season started. His agent has straight up insinuated that the Steelers would intentionally use him up this year to hurt his future, the one they tried to secure with their offer.

So here we are. Nobody knows how it's going to work out. What a damn mess.

So, assuming he's not going to be back until Week 10, which is when he absolutely has to show or he gets to do this again next year, Pittsburgh has James Conner, who has shown himself to be a hell of a pickup from last year's draft. He's a hometown product, a cancer survivor, and to all appearances he'll be 80-90% of Bell, though Bell is a better receiver and more patient. Conner is more of a traditional back. We'll see how it goes.

As for the rest of the team, the offensive line is still really good, they have a top-5 QB in Ben Roethlisberger, the best receiver in the game in Antonio Brown, and a strong supporting cast with JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington, the new deep threat. They finally cut Landry Fucking Jones and drafted the heir apparent with Mason Rudolph. Joshua Dobbs had a great preseason. The offense, with the exception of Bell, seems to be right where it needs to be.

This season, however, will only go as far as the defense lets it go. The loss of Ryan Shazier cannot be overstated. Replacing him is going to be very difficult. The secondary is less suspect than last year, but still apparently vulnerable. It's weird to say that the weak link in Pittsburgh is the defense, but there it is.

___

As for the division, this looks to be more heated than it's been in a long time. The Ratbirds look to be a solid team, the Bengals always play tough, and the Browns(!) are looking awfully tough. My prediction:

PIT 12-4
BAL 9-7
CLE 7-9
CIN 6-10

Alas, this may finally be the end for Marvin Lewis. You could always count on him when your team needed a win, especially in the playoffs. Hue Jackson may survive. Harbaugh and Tomlin stay locked in.

As for the rest of the league, who's to say? So many teams have made apparent improvements that it's hard to guess. All I know is that the damn Patriots will win the AFC Cupcake division, and remain the dragon that Pittsburgh has to slay, assuming they don't score 42 and lose to Jacksonville again. And, of course, the Eagles won an ugly game on Thursday that they should have lost, but that's what champions do. They'll be a very tough out this year.

Anyway, it all starts tomorrow for my beloved Stillers. The winningest QB all-time in the Factory of Sadness adds to his win total. Cleveland has to wait at least one more week for a win.

PIT 27 CLE 17

It's so good to have football back again. I've had the itch since 5 minutes agfter the Super Bowl ended.
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Old 09-09-2018, 05:03 PM
Isosleepy Isosleepy is offline
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So far more of a stumble on the edge of ignominy. But: not losing after 5 turnovers is pretty good. Connor looked quite good, as did the entire defense. Ben, though, needs to start rethinking throwing into triple coverage, for starters. My prediction: Steelers trounce a non-shabby KC next Sunday.
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Old 09-09-2018, 05:04 PM
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It's the first game of the season. Don't lose faith!
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Old 09-09-2018, 05:35 PM
Airman Doors, USAF Airman Doors, USAF is offline
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It's the first game of the season. Don't lose faith!
Lose faith? Never. Never ever.

But while Conner played a great game with the exception of the fumble (which should have been a touchback), Ben played what might be one of the worst games of his career. That was utterly awful. The defense played well. T.J. Watt was an absolute beast. 4 sacks, 4 tackles for a loss. That's outrageous. And then there's Artie Burns, who helped gift-wrap the Browns' first touchdown. Shut up and play. I don't care if you "feel disrespected as a man" or whatever nonsense justification you come up with, win on the scoreboard. That's your respect, not acting a fool on the field.

Still, not a win is better than a loss, even if it feels like a loss because it was a blown 14-point lead to the Browns. Their defense is stout. I said they have an outside shot at 8-8, and I stand by that with an adjustment for the tie.

That ending was brutal for both sides. How did Boswell miss that? How did the Browns' kicker miss that? But walking away with a tie in a game where the turnover margin was 5-0 isn't all bad.

Next game: home opener with the Chiefs.
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Old 09-09-2018, 06:55 PM
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At least they didn't lose?

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Originally Posted by Airman Doors, USAF
But walking away with a tie in a game where the turnover margin was 5-0 isn't all bad.
It's almost impossible.

Last edited by Harrington; 09-09-2018 at 06:56 PM.
  #6  
Old 09-09-2018, 08:11 PM
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which should have been a touchback
Nope, sorry. Well explained by the rules expert for CBS. The player was lying on the sideline while the ball was touching him. At that point, the ball is dead. As that happened before the ball entered (let alone left) the end zone, the play ended at that point, and was not a touchback.


As for the missed FGs: both were attempted in steadily worsening rain. And the one by the Browns kicker was blocked, which is hardly the fault of the kicker (entirely, anyway).
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Old 09-13-2018, 06:30 AM
AK84 AK84 is online now
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Been seeing this thread and its predessessor since I joined up. Not being a Gridiron fan or an American, I am clueless. Has the thread ever ended with the Steelers reaching the Super Bowi? Or are they on a 16 year drought?
  #8  
Old 09-13-2018, 09:12 AM
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Winning twice. Super Bowl XL in 2006 and XLIII in 2009.
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Old 09-13-2018, 01:53 PM
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Soma nine year drought since this thread got them to the Super Bowl....
Yup,the dope was better 10 years ago.
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Old 09-14-2018, 07:32 AM
Isosleepy Isosleepy is offline
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Ahem. While they lost, they did appear in the 2011 Super Bowl.
(Spooky:autocorrect changed that to 2021!)
  #11  
Old 09-14-2018, 06:47 PM
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The Chiefs are no walkover, even with Mahomes at QB (whom played pretty well in the last game). Chiefs have elite talent at RB and WR with Hunt and Hill. Should be a game.
  #12  
Old 09-16-2018, 11:12 AM
Airman Doors, USAF Airman Doors, USAF is offline
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This should indeed be a good game. Really, though, it all depends on Ben. The Steelersí defense showed themselves last week to be much improved and the offense has the potential to be amazing, even without Bell. But 5 turnovers from the quarterback is almost impossible to overcome, even with T. J. Watt having a legendary game. I mean, 4 sacks and 4 tackles for a loss? Yeah, he got AFC Defensive Player of the Week, but it still seems like nobody noticed. If his brother had done that it would be the buzz of the league.

Anyway, Ben better get it together today or Pittsburgh will be in a deep hole after only two weeks.
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Old 09-16-2018, 11:15 AM
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Been seeing this thread and its predessessor since I joined up. Not being a Gridiron fan or an American, I am clueless. Has the thread ever ended with the Steelers reaching the Super Bowi? Or are they on a 16 year drought?
Hope springs eternal, brother. They have a chance almost every season.
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Old 09-16-2018, 01:45 PM
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From a stumble on the edge to a headlong tilt with a running start into ignominy. Now all we have to to figure out how the defense giving up 3 td in 10 minutes is somehow the fault of an offensive coordinator who isnt even there anymore.
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Old 09-16-2018, 04:06 PM
Airman Doors, USAF Airman Doors, USAF is offline
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Pittsburgh’s defense better get better or they’re not marching anywhere. Mahomes took them apart today. They looked good last week but that seems to have been an illusion.

And as I type this they force a fumble. Maybe I ought to bag on them all the time.
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Old 09-16-2018, 04:28 PM
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Ben had an offensive player of the week game, and lost.
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Old 09-16-2018, 04:29 PM
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Offense wasn’t horrible, arguably decent-to-good in fact. Defense was lacking, but I’ve seen worse. I think in part, here, that KC is just that good. That said, Steelers do emphatically not look like a SB contender.
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Old 09-16-2018, 04:45 PM
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They have 14 more games to right the ship. It’s all there, it just hasn’t come together yet.
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Old 09-16-2018, 08:17 PM
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The Chiefs offense looks really dynamic with the addition of Watkins to go along with Hill and Hunt, and Mahomes looks legit too, especially with that good offensive line in front of him.
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Old 09-17-2018, 08:37 PM
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I have no Cable at the moment so my ability to watch football is limited. It's looking like this year that may not be such a bad thing...
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Old 09-18-2018, 01:11 PM
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Brown didn’t show at mandatory Monday meeting. Probably overblown by local news, but maybe it’s time to start over entirely. Aim for 2021 SB. Start playing all the new guys.
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Old 09-18-2018, 01:38 PM
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Based on what I've seen so far this year, it's going to be kind of hard for them to "march to the Super Bowl" if they can't even make the playoffs.
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Old 09-18-2018, 02:44 PM
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Based on what I've seen so far this year, it's going to be kind of hard for them to "march to the Super Bowl" if they can't even make the playoffs.
Iím sure the players can afford to buy tickets to see it.
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Old 09-18-2018, 02:49 PM
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Based on what I've seen so far this year, it's going to be kind of hard for them to "march to the Super Bowl" if they can't even make the playoffs.
They could theoretically march there to wherever the game is being held, they just won't get to play in it.

I keed, I keed. It's early yet. Some of these teams that have had a rough start will turn things around.
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Old 09-18-2018, 05:02 PM
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Antonio Brown apparently skipped practice on Monday after getting into an argument with his OC during Sunday's game. I'm pretty sure it's just competitive juices flowing, but this year's Steeler's penchant for drama is putting a smile on my face.

Last edited by Hamlet; 09-18-2018 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 09-18-2018, 08:52 PM
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Antonio Brown apparently skipped practice on Monday after getting into an argument with his OC during Sunday's game. I'm pretty sure it's just competitive juices flowing, but this year's Steeler's penchant for drama is putting a smile on my face.
Same here. It's like a slow motion implosion.
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Old 09-19-2018, 12:46 PM
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How long before the Stillers dump Brown, the Pats make him their next WR salvage project, and he finally gets a ring?
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Old 09-19-2018, 01:25 PM
Airman Doors, USAF Airman Doors, USAF is offline
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Same here. It's like a slow motion implosion.
I suspect that smile wonít still be there in December.
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Old 09-19-2018, 07:31 PM
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I suspect that smile wonít still be there in December.
Perhaps, if they can fix that defense.
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Old 09-19-2018, 08:11 PM
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What IS Brown's problem? He's making 17 million a year -- that's almost twice what Sidney Crosby is getting paid for crissakes. (Yeah, I know it's a completely different sport. But when you're getting paid more than our most currently decorated athlete in the city, who's the best in his sport, and you're not happy, well, you might need to reexamine your priorities)

Bell supposedly turned down 70 million -- these guys are making money hand over fist, and they're throwing tantrums and acting like primadonnas. What the FUCK is going on?

Last edited by Guinastasia; 09-19-2018 at 08:14 PM.
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Old 09-19-2018, 09:52 PM
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Bell supposedly turned down 70 million -- these guys are making money hand over fist, and they're throwing tantrums and acting like primadonnas. What the FUCK is going on?
Making obscene amounts of money, becoming extremely famous, and having a crew of assistants/agents who are paid to kiss your butt 24/7 tends to give a person an extremely inflated sense of entitlement.
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Old 09-19-2018, 09:56 PM
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these guys are making money hand over fist, and they're throwing tantrums and acting like primadonnas. What the FUCK is going on?
Free Agency.
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Old 09-19-2018, 10:13 PM
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Bell supposedly turned down 70 million -- these guys are making money hand over fist, and they're throwing tantrums and acting like primadonnas. What the FUCK is going on?
Bell turned down a 5-year contract that guaranteed just $33 million, while Todd Gurley just signed a 4-year contract that guaranteed $45 million. Bell already played last year under the franchise tag at a below-market rate. Why should he sign a long-term deal that's less than what he thinks he'd get as a free agent? And why should he play under the franchise tag (and risk jeopardizing that free agent deal) any more than he absolutely has to?

You know who else is making money hand over fist? The Rooney family. Steelers ticket prices are consistently in the top third of the league (cite). The team doesn't offer their product at below-market rates.

It's a business, and Bell is a businessman. The more winnable games they lose, the more leverage Bell's gonna have.
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Old 09-19-2018, 10:14 PM
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Making obscene amounts of money, becoming extremely famous, and having a crew of assistants/agents who are paid to kiss your butt 24/7 tends to give a person an extremely inflated sense of entitlement.
Why is wanting to be paid market value "an extremely inflated sense of entitlement"? I wouldn't do my job at below-market rates. Would you keep working if your employer offered to pay you a fraction of what your peers make?
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Old 09-19-2018, 10:46 PM
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Why is wanting to be paid market value "an extremely inflated sense of entitlement"? I wouldn't do my job at below-market rates. Would you keep working if your employer offered to pay you a fraction of what your peers make?
Bell isn't asking to be paid "a fraction of his his peers are" (Actually, that's not true, because 5/2nds is a fraction, but you know what I mean). Bell isn't playing this year because being the 2nd or 3rd highest paid RB isn't enough for him. He wants to be the highest paid, with the highest guaranteed amount, of any other RB in the league. That's not "below market rate".

Don't get me wrong, Bell should get every penny he can from the NFL (although that won't endear him to his teammates at all). But let's not pretend he is dissatisfied because he's only making a "fraction of what his peers make".
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Old 09-20-2018, 01:32 AM
Chisquirrel Chisquirrel is offline
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You ignored the entire "market value" majority of the post to emphasize a few words towards the end. Bell is unhappy because he's not getting his value, and he's not getting his value because the Steelers won't allow him to see what the market would offer, while doing everything they can to ruin that value for Bell long-term.

Bell is head and shoulders above any other RB in the league. He's being paid relatively well while the Steelers run the tires off of him, so no other team will give him his value either. Waiting out gross abuse of the franchise tag system is a business decision for an elite player at a position that burns through players incredibly fast. Adrian Peterson made almost as much riding the bench for a season because he beat his child as Bell has made in his entire career.

Le'Veon Bell has never even sniffed free agency while rushing for 250+ attempts almost every season he played over half the games, playing almost all offensive snaps. That's insane abuse for a RB, and the Steelers will have control over 6 of the ~9 years he can expect at full production, without ever being able to see what he's worth.
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Old 09-20-2018, 01:44 AM
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Don't get me wrong, Bell should get every penny he can from the NFL (although that won't endear him to his teammates at all). But let's not pretend he is dissatisfied because he's only making a "fraction of what his peers make".
I don't know about that. The franchise tag guarantees him $14.5M in 2018 and nothing beyond that. That's a fraction - less than one, even! - of the guaranteed $45M that Gurley got (for 4 years) and the guaranteed $30M that Johnson signed for (3 years), and it doesn't offer any security if he gets injured this year (a real concern, given that he's gotten 27-28 touches a game over the last two years). In the world of NFL running backs, Bell's tender is a great offer. In the world of elite NFL backs, it's not.

Last edited by Enginerd; 09-20-2018 at 01:46 AM. Reason: quote for context
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Old 09-20-2018, 07:43 AM
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You ignored the entire "market value" majority of the post to emphasize a few words towards the end. Bell is unhappy because he's not getting his value, and he's not getting his value because the Steelers won't allow him to see what the market would offer, while doing everything they can to ruin that value for Bell long-term.
A vast majority of players are not being paid your definition of "market value". Almost any starting caliber player, if they signed a new contract today, would make more than the one they're playing under.

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Bell is head and shoulders above any other RB in the league.
Bell is easily a top 3 RB. Saying he's "head and shoulders" better than Gurley, Elliot, and Johnson, however, is just like the "fraction of his peers" hyperbole. Especially with how Conner is playing this year as Bell sits. I should expect that kind of homerism in a Steeler thread though.

Last edited by Hamlet; 09-20-2018 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 09-20-2018, 07:45 AM
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Bell is head and shoulders above any other RB in the league.
I am not so sure about that statement.
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Old 09-20-2018, 08:07 AM
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I don't know about that. The franchise tag guarantees him $14.5M in 2018 and nothing beyond that. That's a fraction - less than one, even! - of the guaranteed $45M that Gurley got (for 4 years) and the guaranteed $30M that Johnson signed for (3 years), and it doesn't offer any security if he gets injured this year (a real concern, given that he's gotten 27-28 touches a game over the last two years). In the world of NFL running backs, Bell's tender is a great offer. In the world of elite NFL backs, it's not.
Again, of course a long term contract is going to guarantee him more money than the franchise tag. That's kinda how contracts work. They're long term. Hence more years. Hence more money.

The guaranteed money he would make this year would make him the highest paid RB in the league (at least according to Sporttrac) for the year. That's not really a fraction of what his peers are getting.

But, again, I don't have a problem with, and am actually quite enjoying, Bell holding out for a better contract and less work. It's absolutely in his best interest to get as much guaranteed money as he can while he can, especially at the running back position. He'll report at the latest he can to accumulate his year for free agency, and we'll see what drama happens then. Should be fun to watch.
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Old 09-20-2018, 08:15 AM
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I am not so sure about that statement.
James Harrison gets held on EVERY SINGLE PLAY!
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Old 09-20-2018, 03:42 PM
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James Harrison gets held on EVERY SINGLE PLAY!
And Ben played heroically with a 104 degree fever, a broken toe and NO ONE EVEN KNEW
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Old 09-21-2018, 12:40 AM
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Right now, bottom AFC north. Wow.
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Old 09-21-2018, 12:52 AM
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And Ben played heroically with a 104 degree fever, a broken toe and NO ONE EVEN KNEW
Thatís what Roethlisberger is known for, stoically enduring injuries without letting anyone know about it.
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Old 09-21-2018, 02:56 AM
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A vast majority of players are not being paid your definition of "market value". Almost any starting caliber player, if they signed a new contract today, would make more than the one they're playing under.
Except that's not my definition of market value...Bell is only getting offers from a single team, with not even a chance of hearing other options. 2/3 of his potential earning career is being dictated by a single team. That's obscene for an elite player.

Bell is easily a top 3 RB. Saying he's "head and shoulders" better than Gurley, Elliot, and Johnson, however, is just like the "fraction of his peers" hyperbole. Especially with how Conner is playing this year as Bell sits. I should expect that kind of homerism in a Steeler thread though.[/QUOTE]

If you're only looking at rushing statistics, that might make sense, but Bell is the equivalent of a solid slot receiver AS WELL. He's 15% more rushing and 50% more receiving than Gurley, 10% less rushing but 100% more receiving than Elliot, and 40% more rushing and 100% more receiving than Johnson. He's Todd Gurley + Randall Cobb, all in one position.

Conner has had one phenomenal game and one disappointing one so far. I'd be careful to crown him the heir apparent. Claims of homerism while I blast the Steelers FO? You might want to try reading the post again.
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Old 09-21-2018, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Chisquirrel View Post
Except that's not my definition of market value...Bell is only getting offers from a single team, with not even a chance of hearing other options. 2/3 of his potential earning career is being dictated by a single team. That's obscene for an elite player.
Why "elite" players? It sounds like the problem you have shouldn't apply to only elite players, but to everyone. Why should only Bell be able to get market value, while poor James Conner or BJ Finney are stuck in the same situation? Do you propose ending the CBA, the draft, and salary cap, but only for only elite players?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chisquirrel
If you're only looking at rushing statistics, that might make sense, but Bell is the equivalent of a solid slot receiver AS WELL. He's 15% more rushing and 50% more receiving than Gurley, 10% less rushing but 100% more receiving than Elliot, and 40% more rushing and 100% more receiving than Johnson. He's Todd Gurley + Randall Cobb, all in one position.
And he gets held on every single play while fighting off a 104 degree fever and a broken toe!!

You know how many yards Bell had receiving last year? 133 yards less than Gurley. You know how many yards receiving Bell had in 2016? 263 yards less than Johnson. You know how many times Bell has led running backs in yards from scrimmage? Never.

Tell me again about "head and shoulders" better than anyone else.

Last edited by Hamlet; 09-21-2018 at 07:48 AM.
  #47  
Old 09-21-2018, 08:10 AM
Airman Doors, USAF Airman Doors, USAF is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamlet View Post
Why "elite" players? It sounds like the problem you have shouldn't apply to only elite players, but to everyone. Why should only Bell be able to get market value, while poor James Conner or BJ Finney are stuck in the same situation? Do you propose ending the CBA, the draft, and salary cap, but only for only elite players?

And he gets held on every single play while fighting off a 104 degree fever and a broken toe!!

You know how many yards Bell had receiving last year? 133 yards less than Gurley. You know how many yards receiving Bell had in 2016? 263 yards less than Johnson. You know how many times Bell has led running backs in yards from scrimmage? Never.

Tell me again about "head and shoulders" better than anyone else.
To be fair, he keeps finding himself suspended or injured which limits his stats. If his game average is extended over an entire year I suspect it would be much higher, but I donít currently have time to find out.

Of course, thatís part of the problem, and one of the reasons Pittsburgh is reluctant to pay him the kind of money he wants. If some other team wants to do so, thatís their risk. Pittsburgh gave him a great offer based not only on his production but his availability.
  #48  
Old 09-21-2018, 08:23 AM
Hamlet Hamlet is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airman Doors, USAF View Post
To be fair, he keeps finding himself suspended or injured which limits his stats. If his game average is extended over an entire year I suspect it would be much higher, but I don’t currently have time to find out.
11 ypg less than Gurley last year. 4 ypg less than Johnson in 2016.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Airman Doors
Of course, that’s part of the problem, and one of the reasons Pittsburgh is reluctant to pay him the kind of money he wants. If some other team wants to do so, that’s their risk. Pittsburgh gave him a great offer based not only on his production but his availability.
I'm unsure who to trust when it comes to reporting exact terms of contract negotiations, so it's really hard for me to say if Pittsburgh gave him a "great" offer. What is clear, though, is that the Steelers are concerned about his availability, as they very well should be. It also seems clear that Bell is concerned about his career earning potential, as he very well should be. So it's a tough call to decide who is right and who is wrong. Which happens when the Steelers are doing what they think is best for the Steelers and Bell is doing what he thinks is best for Bell.

But he's still not "head and shoulders" better than any other back in the NFL. Even though he wants to be paid like it. Just offer him Gurley's deal+ $1 and move on.

Last edited by Hamlet; 09-21-2018 at 08:25 AM.
  #49  
Old 09-21-2018, 09:27 AM
Airman Doors, USAF Airman Doors, USAF is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamlet View Post
11 ypg less than Gurley last year. 4 ypg less than Johnson in 2016.

I'm unsure who to trust when it comes to reporting exact terms of contract negotiations, so it's really hard for me to say if Pittsburgh gave him a "great" offer. What is clear, though, is that the Steelers are concerned about his availability, as they very well should be. It also seems clear that Bell is concerned about his career earning potential, as he very well should be. So it's a tough call to decide who is right and who is wrong. Which happens when the Steelers are doing what they think is best for the Steelers and Bell is doing what he thinks is best for Bell.

But he's still not "head and shoulders" better than any other back in the NFL. Even though he wants to be paid like it. Just offer him Gurley's deal+ $1 and move on.
As I said in the OP, I donít think either of them are wrong. I understand both positions. As far as ďhead and shouldersĒ above, you did the numbers and they donít bear that out. That said, Conner is making those contracts and Bellís contract offer look like bad deals. Weíll see if that continues.
  #50  
Old 09-21-2018, 11:52 AM
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The thing that's striking to me is how poorly the Steelers have played on defense. In terms of sheer stats, the offense is holding up it's side of the bargain.
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