The NFL is a complicated business, what with salary caps and franchise tags and disgruntled running backs who don't want to report to work because they don't like their paycheck. To understand the Pittsburgh Steelers' 1-1-1 start, you first have to recognize they have played so far without All-Pro running Le'Veon Bell, who is holding out because he essentially wants more money, even if it means he's forfeited $2.6 million so far this season.
Bell has to show up at one point in order to qualify for free agency — with all kinds of theories as to what he should do then — but there's still the likely possibility he won't play another down in black and gold. It's confusing, but thankfully we have our weekly back-and-forth with NFL insider Ian Rapoport to help us sort through the mess.
Of course, one team's headache is another team's opportunity, hence why certain teams are cautiously expressing interest in Bell at the right price.
As far back as January, Bell cited risk of injury for wanting a better deal.. It's worth mentioning given the other percolating storyline in the NFL, that of an inordinate number of roughing-the-passer penalties so far, all in the professed interest of protecting quarterbacks. A noble effort, perhaps, maybe not to Packers star Clay Matthews, who has been assessed three in his team's first three games. According to Rapoport, the league is exploring ways to revise the rule to find some type of middle ground.