Get your lighters and your cameras ready — it’s jersey-burning SZN, people!
And in a few short days, star running back Le’Veon Bell will be a Raider! Obviously. Haven’t you put the pieces together yet? It’s a puzzle so simple that Gronk could solve it, and it doesn’t even have anything to do with the number 69. Bet you feel dumb now, don’t you?
NFL free agency officially begins on Wednesday afternoon, and it makes all too much sense that this former disgraced Steeler will be Oakland-bound. There, he will join Antonio Brown, his ex-Steeler teammate. Brown, too, fled a historically successful franchise, coach, and quarterback as if his hair were on fire (it wasn’t, but I wish the mustache had been).
Unfortunately, neither Brown nor Bell have been able to stop crying about the millions of dollars they were not making (and they say athletes aren’t relatable — I cry about this too!). Lucky for them, Oakland is part of the “Bay Area,” so they will both have a very large port in which to dump those salty, salty tears they’ve been collecting across the country.
“Hey, that’s me, Le’Veon Bell. You’re probably wondering how I ended up in this situation. Let me (actually Caroline) explain.”
Perhaps you are familiar with Le’Veon Bell’s seemingly never-ending saga of holdout drama because James Conner had your fantasy team planted firmly on his back last season. You lost an incredible amount of sleep as you nervously sweated out each week while praying to the football gods that Bell’s issues remained unresolved. (And it paid off!)
If you were not as fortunate as others, and did not have $350 riding on Bell’s continued absence, perhaps the situation made you feel a different type of way. Maybe you were flabbergasted that someone could scoff at millions of dollars as if it were the unidentifiable brown substance you stepped in in your new shoes on your walk to Penn Station this morning (if that sounds oddly specific it’s because it was). Maybe it made you so angry that you wanted to wrap yourself in all of the money you lost betting on the Steelers last year and bury yourself in the middle of Heinz Field. This sounds pretty depressing, but on the bright side, that field is such a dump that you probably won’t have to dig the hole yourself!
Well, most of us can’t win. But Antonio Brown’s recent trade to the Raiders truly does set up an incredible opportunity for both he and Le’Veon Bell. Believe it or not, there are mumblings around the league that both players suffer from a rare disease that cannot be cured by traditional means of medicine.
Ah, yes. Stick-it-to-da-man-neosis. It infiltrated the unsuspecting bloodstreams of those poor kids in School of Rock, and it appears that it has found its way to Pittsburgh sixteen years later.
So who is “the man” in this case?
“The man” is likely the Steelers’ front office as a whole, but watch out for known bad leader Ben Roethlisberger as a sleeper pick. He publicly calls out his dramatic teammates, which is widely regarded to be on a similar level of heinousness as kidnapping Shamu.
In order for Brown and Bell to cure themselves, they must do something that hearkens back to the dark days of middle school. You’d be going about your day, minding your business, and hoping that your teacher didn’t choose you to read aloud in the class you had with your crush. Before you knew it, skinny little Andy and his ridiculous haircut (hope he’s not reading this) were the last thing on your ever-growing list of concerns as a twelve-year-old against the world.
Out of nowhere, your two best friends would declare themselves “mad at you,” and to make matters worse, would instantly befriend the weird kid that the three of you used to laugh at. Now, that kid is you. Things are fun for your former besties for about three days, they realize their grave mistake, and you welcome them with open arms as they come crawling back because you’re sick of eating lunch alone in the bathroom.
Unfortunately, Ben’s bathroom back in Pittsburgh has a “do not enter” sign on it, and Brown and Bell will be stuck in Oakland with the aforementioned weird kid. But it’ll be really funny at the time! Ha ha ha…
If you haven’t followed any of this blog thus far, because you know this man as “Juice,” and not “Le’Veon Bell,” then you’ll definitely understand why this next part of the free agency puzzle fits so perfectly. Over the past two years, Juice has released multiple rap albums on SoundCloud, with some songs directly pointed at his failing contract negotiations with the Steelers.
While Pittsburgh has produced some great rappers, Bell is obviously not returning, and will be looking for a new city to bless with his musical talents. When you consider the history of the Oakland rap scene, Tupac, MC Hammer, and G-Eazy all come to mind (or to the Google search results). I don’t know much about rap, but I do know that G-Eazy dated Halsey like six times, so it’s hard to argue that Oakland breeds successful rappers.
Clearly, Bell doesn’t really care much about winning, or playing football at all, for that matter. Unlike a lot of players that get caught up in their egos, he knows that football is not forever, and eventually he will need to find another way to occupy his time and rake in the dough. Although the Raiders are leaving for Vegas soon, just a short stay in the Bay Area would be all he needs to lay the groundwork for his imminent legacy.
While “in negotiations” with the Steelers last year, Bell spent quite a bit of time in Miami. This appears to be his choice vacation spot, but perhaps not where he wants to continue his football career. Work and play typically do not mix. But if he wants a similar environment, it would be provided to him once the Raiders move to Vegas.
On one hand, we have yet to see how Bob Kraft will fare in his “prostitution scandal.” But on the other, I can’t imagine that weed is the drug people are seeking out in Vegas, so by all applicable NFL standards, Le’Veon should not have a problem participating in these common Miami activities on the west coast. If he should choose to do so. I’m just saying.
While not nearly as important as everything else that I’ve mentioned, I figure that cap space and positional need are worth giving a few lines. Going into free agency, the Raiders have the seventh-most cap space in the league at $62 million. They are also looking pretty bleak at [insert any position here], so that covers running back as well. Star running backs are traditionally overpaid in free agency, and the Raiders traditionally overpay everyone, so I simply cannot see a world in which this signing does not happen.