Patton: Le’Veon Bell the latest star to be used as NFL’s franchise tag pawn

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Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field on Jan. 14 in Pittsburgh. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

By MIKE PATTON  | Nashville Voice

The NFL, unlike MLB and the NBA, doesn’t have guaranteed deals. But one thing the NFL has that MLB and NBA don’t have is a franchise tag.

When a team has a player they cannot come to an agreement with but still want to retain his services, the team can put out there a one-year franchise tag deal that gives a player a deal that is the average of the top five paid players at the position which the player plays.

In addition, the franchise tag gives the organization time to put together a long-term deal. In the case of Le’Veon Bell though, the franchise tag has not been so kind to him.

While it is going to pay him a very good amount of money for one season, Bell has been going through this with the Steelers for a couple years now.

The team seems to not want to sign him to a long-term deal and as a result, Bell has not signed the franchise tag and reported to his team.
Bell, like others that have been in a holdout situation, is the one taking the blame here.

Fans are riding him because he is holding out, radio shows are giving him hell for not reporting and even his teammates are fed up with him holding out.

The anger is real towards Bell, but what about when these type of contract situations are flipped the other way?

For the players themselves, the NFL also stands for “Not For Long.” That being said, players have to look out for themselves.

The more money they can make over the short period of time most play, the better they can take care of themselves after they are done playing financially.

The only thing any player is entitled to when they sign a new contract is the guaranteed money the team is going to give them.

For example, free-agent wide receiver Allen Robinson signed a three-year, $42 million deal with the Chicago Bears this offseason. That number sounds nice, but he is only guaranteed $25 million of that money.

The other money involved in this is only “fluff money” that makes the deal sound nice but isn’t something he is guaranteed to see. The reason he isn’t guaranteed all of his money is owners don’t want to be on the hook for all that money.

They want a way out when they feel players don’t live up to the contract they signed. And when ownership feels that way, that’s when players get unceremoniously dumped by a team.

And as far as the other “fluff money,” it holds as much value as toilet paper when it gets flushed down the toilet.

Owners seem to escape blame when things go bad and players get cut, with fans using lines like “he did not live up to his contract.”

But what about when players outperform the contracts they have? Shouldn’t they get that right to do so without so much public persecution?

Fans who don’t understand that are practicing hypocrisy with their fandom.

Since so many fans want to compare this to their day jobs, they may want to ask themselves if they would like to be paid less money for doing above and beyond what their job titles are.

Who else is betting that answer would be “no”?

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