On Thursday, NFL training camps officially were underway around the league. This is the first time that teams are required to get together to kick off the new season. This is the time that contract disputes also come to the forefront where many players hold out of reporting to camp in order to address their contract situations.


You usually see this from the upper echelon players in the league or of their given franchises. After a certain number of years are matched with a certain level of high-level production, players look to cash in on their work and feel protected by the teams that they play/work for.


With the NFL notoriously giving out short term deals due to the violent and injury-prone nature of the sport, many players resort to training camp holdouts in order to try to strong-arm teams into giving them a new contract to bank on.


These holdouts can last from a few days to some even lasting the duration of their team’s training camp to prove their point and their worth. Darrelle Revis once sat out an entire New York Jets training camp because he wanted, and deserved, a top notch deal for what he was producing on the field.


The holdout garnered a lot of media attention through the entire month or two of camp and it resulted in Revis becoming the league’s highest paid corner and one of its highest paid defensive players.


This year’s version of Revis pins Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back Le’Veon Bell as its most likely candidate.


(Sporting News)

Bell has been one of the best running backs in the NFL for the last four season and is certainly its most versatile. When you lead a team in rushing and rank second in receiving at the same time, it’s safe to say that your value to that team should be unquestioned. However, to this point, the two sides have failed to reach a contract extension as his rookie deal expires this season. Due to the fact that they have collectively failed to reach this extension, the Steelers’ have used Bell as their franchise tag eligible player which means that, upon signing, they will essentially have him on a 1 year/$12 Million deal for this season and allow him to become a free agent next season.


The tag is usually placed on star players when the team fails to reach any type of extension with that given player. It essentially gives the team a cop out for either needing more time to sign the player or not trusting that the player deserves a long term extension.


For Bell, a player whose production is more than deserving of a big deal, his only choice was to hold out. With only so much guaranteed money available in the NFL, it’s important that players put themselves, and their bodies, in the best positions to succeed long term.


Going to training camp without a deal puts the player in jeopardy. One wrong move, one misstep, one injury could put the player’s season and future in jeopardy. If Bell were to report to camp without an extension and sign the franchise tender and get hurt, teams will be more unlikely to want to sign Bell in the future. They say a running back in the NFL starts to fizzle out after the age of 30 and the closer Bell approaches that age, the harder it will be for him to receive the money that his stats say he deserves.


Hence, the current hold out for Bell from Steelers’ camp that may last awhile. This has all the makings of a Revis 2.0 where we may not see him at camp at all because without a guaranteed deal, why would Bell risk his career for training camp?


We will see how all of this unfolds.


Do you think Bell should report to camp despite this contract dispute? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.