Pittsburgh Must Make Le'Veon Bell Their Number One Priority this Offseason

Pittsburgh Must Make Le'Veon Bell Their Number One Priority this Offseason

Without a shadow of a doubt, Le’Veon Bell is one of the elite running backs in the National Football League. The Steelers star was outstanding in the regular season, recording 157 scrimmage yards per game – a league-leading statistic. Bell missed the first three games of the season through suspension but still ranked fifth in total rushing yards with 1,268 during the 2016 regular campaign; an impressive achievement to say the least.

Everybody knows that Bell is a key component of Pittsburgh’s offense but you must crunch the numbers further to understand just how vital he is to Mike Tomlin’s side. Bell was one of two players to average over 100 rushing yards per game this season; the other was Ezekiel Elliott. Furthermore, the 24-year-old recorded 75 receptions during the regular campaign – and the only other back to rival this tally was Arizona Cardinals man David Johnson.

When Bell is able to move the chains, Pittsburgh usually win. In victories this year, Bell has rushed 199 times for 1,045 yards at an average of 5.3 yards per carry. Comparatively, the Steelers back has rushed just 62 times in losses; averaging a measly 3.6 yards per carry whilst scoring just one touchdown on the ground. Incredibly, Bell averages 178 scrimmage yards per game when Pittsburgh win compared to just 115 when they lose – and he still ranks ahead of his main rivals at the position.

And the Steelers man has continued his fantastic form in the postseason. Bell has carried Pittsburgh to victories over the Miami Dolphins and a road victory against the Kansas City Chiefs; and Mike Tomlin has certainly leaned on his star back in recent weeks. Bell set a new Steelers record for rushing yards in a playoff game in the Miami triumph before breaking Arian Foster’s record for yards gained in a player’s first two postseason appearances.

With Bell’s contract up in the offseason, the Steelers’ head office will be looking to negotiate a deal that suits both parties. Let’s be honest, the Pittsburgh back deserves to get paid and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the Steelers strike a mega money deal in the near future. However, many believe that Pittsburgh may use the franchise tag on Bell in order to buy some time and move some money around ahead of the 2017 campaign - and that might occur now the news of Antonio Brown's extended contract has been leaked.

At the time of writing, Pittsburgh are priced at 7/2 with Betway to win the Super Bowl and Bell’s form in Sunday’s road clash with the New England Patriots will be crucial to their chances. The Steelers fell short against New England earlier this season but Bell & Co are in a better place now than they were in Week 7. The Pittsburgh back racked up 149 scrimmage yards in that defeat but the absence of Ben Roethlisberger hindered their chances of offensive success. With Big Ben back under center, the Steelers could surprise the Patriots in their own backyard.

Simply put, Bell is one of just three elite running backs in the sport and Pittsburgh know just how important he is to their future success. The National Football League is now much more focused on the passing game but a solid option out of the backfield is essential for success – you only need to look at the teams competing in the playoffs to realise that.

In addition, Bell is able to offer Roethlisberger another pass-catching option and that is what takes this Steelers offense to the next level; they are almost impossible to stop when they get going. Brown is a sensational talent at wide receiver but the all-singing, all-dancing Le'Veon Bell HAS to be Pittsburgh's man for the future... and Steelers fans know it.

 

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