Wednesday Morning QB (Week 10)

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This week marked a deadline for one of the biggest stories of the season as this was the week that Le’Veon Bell had to report to the Steelers.

Bell had decided to sit out for the second year in a row after the Steelers used the franchise tag on him in the offseason.

Bell had warned the team before the offseason began that he would sit out if they franchise tagged him but the Steelers still went ahead.

They were betting on the fact that he had done it before but decided to come back before the season ended.

Instead, Bell sat out the entire preseason and every week people wondered if he would come back to the team at all.

November 13 was the deadline as Bell had to report on November 13 in order to be eligible to play at all this season.

If he refused to report to the Steelers he would not be allowed to play the rest of the year forfeiting his paycheck for the season along with his ability to get onto the field.

The holdout is not a new thing as players have done it often especially more recently as the franchise tag has been used more often.

For Bell though, this is about more than his stats and his legacy on the field as he is fighting for something else and trying to make a point.

To some, it might simply come off as being selfish because when it gets boiled down this holdout was about money.

The franchise tag in the NFL has been a controversial aspect to the CBA that the NFLPA is entirely against.

It is essentially a way for teams to lock up their best player for another year paying them a salary that is among the top five for the position or 120% above their most recent salary.

That sounds like a good idea especially when it comes to smaller market teams who get to keep their star player for another year.

The problem with this is that the player has no choice in the matter as that player is forced to take that salary without the ability to negotiate with other teams or without the option to sign a longer-term deal.

For Bell, the amount he got is relatively good but over the last few years, he was one of the best running backs in the league if not the best.

Entering the offseason he could have negotiated with any number of teams and received a big payday.

That payday would have been more than the franchise tag and would have given him more guaranteed money granted him a little more security.

The holdout was a way for Bell to pressure the Steelers into giving him a contract but the Steelers refused to budge on the matter.football-sidebar

Bell didn’t either and failed to report by the deadline keeping him out for the entire season and entering into some uncertainty for next year.

For Bell, this is a lot about getting paid what he deserves but also a way to show the issues that are in the relationship between teams and their players.

The Franchise tag was meant to keep star players from moving on to big market teams in an attempt to keep things fair.

What it is used for is to get the biggest stars on a team at a discount and without having to commit to the players for a long time.

They can pay these players less and if they get injured can move on without being locked into a certain amount of guaranteed money.

Plenty of players see this system as unfair and Bell is the only one who played chicken with a team that refused to back down.

There were other holdouts this year but players like Khalil Mack were moved or given contracts to remain on the team or gave in and played under the franchise tag.

Bell did that last year as he sat out the entire offseason only to come back to the team at the beginning of the year.

This year he refused to give in and for it, he lost a season while the Steelers lost a great back, although James Connor has filled in.

With Bell taking it this far the new offseason could see more players take a stand against these tags.

Eventually, it will become a negotiation issue as the CBA will come up for renewal in 2021 where the franchise tag is sure to be brought up.

For Bell, it is a lost season and one that he hopes can cause change while also leading to a bigger payday next year.

 

Fifth Quarter

Dominoes Set to Fall

The season is entering its second half and in the second half teams are figuring out exactly where they stand as the playoff run approaches. Some teams are not too happy with where they are right now and some are looking to make an adjustment. That is leading to coaches entering that hot seat as the coming weeks could see a few changes on the sidelines. With the Browns already kicking things off the next team that most people are looking at is Baltimore. That is where John Harbaugh is officially on the hot seat as the Ravens and Harbaugh have already talked about a mutual parting of ways after the season and although the in-season firing seems unlikely anything can happen.

Moving Camp

As a part of the constant plan to expand beyond the borders of the USA, the NFL was set to hold another game in Mexico this year. That game was coming up between the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11. Then came concerns over the field conditions in Mexico as the league grew in their concerns over the week until the league had to make a decision. This week they made that decision to move the game from Mexico to Los Angeles in order to save the quality of the game. It does bring up a concern though as moving outside of regular stadiums can cause problems although this is the first time the NFL has had to deal with them.

Playing in Paradise

AS one game was cancelled the NFL announced plans for another one, this time staying in the US albeit somewhere outside of the regular continent. The NFL will be heading to Hawaii next year as the Ras will host a preseason game in Honolulu. It will be the first time that the NFL will travel to the island state since 1976 and should be a destination game. It will be an interesting experiment in a state that is in love with football but never gets much consideration when talking about football culture in the USA. Not to mention that this is a game that most fans would love to go to as it is a true vacation spot with a football game thrown in.

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