Despite the national media taking aim for the better part of the last seven months, the Steelers aren't the bad guys.
Le'Veon Bell was universally praised by former players and by the national media alike when he turned down the Steelers "unfair" 5-year, 70 million dollar offer last offseason. That deal was set to pay Bell 33 million dollars over the first two seasons. Bell would, at the time, have been the highest paid running back in football.
Today, Bell is expected to sign a 4 year, 52 million dollar contract with the Jets. 35 million dollars will be guaranteed. One of the reasons that the Steelers were looked at as "bad guys" in the Bell negotiations is because of the confusion over guaranteed money. Look at how the Steelers have treated Ryan Shazier since his injury. They've paid him. Hell, he will even be on the roster this year. You really think they'd have cut Bell had something happened to him in year one?
The Steelers would have paid out every penny of the 33 million dollars that Bell signed for in the first two years of his deal.
So what did Bell gain? 2 million dollars. Unless you count him skipping out on the 14.5 million that the Steelers would have paid him on the franchise tag.
The Steelers have been raked over the coals for months now as an organization that doesn't treat its players fairly. What a load of rubbish. Ask Ryan Shazier what he thinks about Art Rooney II.
Antonio Brown should have been grateful too. Despite what Mina Kimes and Bill Barnwell are peddling on Twitter, Brown was NEVER underpaid. The Steelers ate the second half of his rookie contract when they gave him a 42.5 million dollar deal. When he outperformed the contract, they advanced him money. Then, after his Facebook live fiasco following the Chiefs playoff game, still made him the highest paid receiver in football.
I get it. Owners are "the man" and players are the "every man." But in this world created by the CBA, the Steelers have done right by their players more than just about any other team. They shouldn't be painted as villains.