The Pittsburgh Steelers took care of the best running back in the NFL in Le’Veon Bell with the Franchise Tag. Bell will make $12M in 2017 unless they can come up with a long-term deal. Paying Bell is not the problem, he deserves the money and his stats will back up his case. However, it’s his backup that needs to be taken care of as well.
As much as I love Bell’s style of play and what he brings to the Steelers offense, you can’t forget the issues he has faced since being drafted. He’s been suspended and injured to the point that he has only played a full 16-game schedule just once in 4 years. Not here to bring his accomplishments down but with a back that’s been known to miss considerable time. The Steelers cannot afford to let DeAngelo Williams go.
Williams is not getting any younger and the Steelers may look at that when or if they decide to talk to his agent. But, looking over at what Williams has done when Bell is not available, shows how valuable he is to the team’s success.
Most teams feature a two-back set or at least they have it where the carries are split. The Steelers have Williams stashed away as insurance or a third down option. What would happen if Pittsburgh decided to let Williams go and tried the FA market or draft someone else after they released Karlos Williams this offseason?
Williams wants to return and the Steelers would love to have him back however, it will come down to dollars. How much do you pay a 33-year old reserve RB that played in only 8 games and rushed for 343 yards? His base salary last season was just $2M. Maybe an increase to a one-year deal in the ballpark of $3.5M will be suitable.
Williams, during his time as Bell’s backup, has had s100-yardard rushing games coupled with 17 total touchdowns. Very reliable. I may think so but it only matters what the Steelers think.