Welcome to The Lowdown for Week 10. This is my little corner of the fantasy football universe — feel free to pull up a chair and stay a while!
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Following the Steelers’ big win over the Panthers this past Thursday, reports started surfacing that Le’Veon Bell would not play for the Steelers this season. As it turns out, language in the CBA would allow the Steelers to tag Bell in 2019– for $25 million. Even without the emergence of RB James Conner, there’s no way the Steelers will pay Bell that kind of money… and because they didn’t really try to sign-and-trade him, the Steelers are looking at letting one of the best runners in the NFL walk away without any compensation at all.
Look, I’m a big free market guy… Bell was not under contract and he exercised his right to sell his services to the Steelers at a price he desired; the Steelers declined to pay. Good all the way around, I have no problem with the stance taken by either side. But was it the smartest play by Bell and the Steelers? Personally, I never believed the Steelers were going to pay Bell what he wanted… they simply could not afford to do so. But I was also surprised they didn’t try harder to work out a trade, especially after Conner got off to his great start. Look, had Bell been able to negotiate a trade, he would’ve quickly learned that nobody would’ve met his demand of being paid like the top RB and top WR in the NFL– in that sense, his stance was a bit unrealistic.
So now all interest turns to 2019 to see where Bell lands… and for how much. My guess is that it has to be a team with a QB on his rookie deal (in order for the cap to be managed), as well as a team on the precipice of winning it all (Bell will be 27.5 when the 2019 season starts, so the numbers say his new team will only get 2-3 prime years out of him). A couple of teams come to mind, but I’m going to say the Eagles are the front-runners, followed by the Texans. Dark horse? The Jets.
Pitchforks and Torches
Everyone knows that I’m a politics junkie; but I also like to think of myself as a bit of a cultural observer. The two came together this week as I watched civil disagreement reach ridiculous depths.
A mob of ANTIFA protestors basically stormed a reporter’s (Tucker Carlson) home, threatening his family with violence– based only on the fact that they disagreed with his opinions. Worse, rather than drawing universal condemnation– there were actually some “pundits” who were OK with, and even excused, the mob’s behavior. Then on the heels of that incident, I was treated to the surreal scene of a White House reporter (Jim Acosta) literally refuse to stop shouting his commentary at the President, even physically preventing the microphone from being taken from him. Again, instead of universal condemnation– there were sides taken. Apparently, common decency only exists within the context of the politics of the observers… sort of what the Double Slit Experiment showed for quantum physics.
It occurred to me that we really don’t see this kind of behavior in the NFL. Do I remember the last time I saw an angry mob storm the house of a head coach? Nope. What about those morons who followed the kicker into a restaurant to harass him after missing the game-winning FG in OT? Oh wait… that didn’t happen either.
That’s why I’m proposing that what we need in this age of fake news and woke warriors is for a study to be commissioned– a study into Cleveland Browns fans. I figure the fact that Hue Jackson is still alive and walking around unharmed or that Zane Gonzalez wasn’t found swaying from a traffic light on Euclid Avenue after the Saints game is proof that the local populace has matered some sort of Zen stress-coping technique that we need to spread to the rest of the country.