Will he or won’t he report? That’s been the question going around Steelers headquarters for the past 2.5 months in regards to Le’Veon Bell’s holdout that has now spanned eight months and counting after he was slapped with the franchise tag back in March. Well, Tuesday at 4 PM ET was the deadline for Bell to report to the team if he wanted to play this season and earn an accrued year, but he chose to stay away and is out for the remainder of the season.
The good news is the guessing game is over. Everyone involved can confidently move forward. Bell is bypassing $14.5 million in total, forfeiting all of it to prove a point that he refuses to be “used” and ran into the ground by the Steelers on a one-year deal just so they can kick him to the curb next offseason with more miles on the tires to become another team’s potential problem. Whether that was a smart move by Bell remains to be seen, but skipping out of $14.5 million has to hurt. Bell will be a 27-year-old free agent next March and will certainly not be franchise-tagged again. He has played his last down for Pittsburgh, and everyone in the Steelers’ building doesn’t seem all that sad about it.
Meanwhile, impressive fill-in James Conner will finish out the season as a true bell-cow back and workhorse RB1. Rookie Jaylen Samuels will keep mixing in sparingly as he continues to impress the coaching staff week to week. Conner was in the concussion protocol after last Thursday night’s shellacking of the Panthers but is fully expected to be cleared in time for Week 11 against the Jaguars. The Steelers are on a heater right now and have moved into the No. 2 seed in the AFC.
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Mexico City Mess-Up
In maybe the most anticipated game of the season, the Chiefs and Rams were scheduled to square off in Mexico City this upcoming Monday night. But Azteca Stadium held a concert on the field last weekend, completely ruining the playing surface, and the NFL had no choice but to move the game to Los Angeles, as it was counting as a Rams “home” game anyway. What a mess. It has no effect on fantasy purposes, as the game features the highest Vegas total of the season at 63.5 points. The Rams are 3.5-point favorites, and this game would seem to have a great shot at hitting the “over”, with both offenses firing on all cylinders and the L.A. defense really struggling of late. There were reports prominent players planned to boycott the game if it was to be played in Mexico City because of the awful playing conditions. One of those players was believed to be Todd Gurley.
Aaron Jones’ Arrow Screaming Upward
Aaron Jones is coming off a career game last week against the Dolphins, rushing for 145 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 15 carries. And Aaron Rodgers believes the team needs to “continue to give Jones more opportunities” as a runner and out of the backfield in general. It’s crystal clear Jones is the Packers’ best back, but it’s a shame it took coach Mike McCarthy so long to realize it and/or trust Jones. But moving forward, Jones is an every-week RB2 with upside for more. Even in a tough draw against the Seahawks this week, Jones is a must-start. Elsewhere in Green Bay, Randall Cobb (hamstring) appears to have suffered a setback and isn’t practicing after sitting out Week 10. He’s a long shot for Thursday night in Seattle. Marquez Valdes-Scantling will remain an upside WR3. Jimmy Graham (knee) also isn’t practicing, but he should be fine to face his former teammates.
Quarterback & Running Back Quick Slants
Coach Kyle Shanahan said Nick Mullens will remain the starter for the time being. … Bucs promoted RB Dare Ogunbowale from their practice squad with Ronald Jones (hamstring) still out. … Coach Kyle Shanahan envisions Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida forming a 1-2 punch in the 49ers’ backfield next season when McKinnon is back from his torn ACL. … Patriots waived RB Kenjon Barner. … Free agent RB Charles Sims worked out for the Titans on Tuesday. … Coach John Harbaugh said Joe Flacco (hip) does not have to practice this week in order to play Sunday against the Bengals. Nobody knows right now who will start for the Ravens. … Ryan Tannehill (shoulder) threw without pain on Sunday. Brock Osweiler has been filling in under center.
Wide Receiver & Tight End Quick Slants
Pierre Garcon (knee) is expected to practice when the 49ers come out of their Week 11 bye. … Eagles TE Richard Rodgers (knee, I.R.) has been cleared to resume practicing. He won’t have a fantasy role. … The Bills cut Terrelle Pryor after spending two weeks with the team. … There’s a “high possibility” Keke Coutee (hamstring) will be back for Week 11 against the Redskins. … Stefon Diggs (ribs) practiced on Monday coming out of the bye. … Patriots TE Dwayne Allen will miss multiple weeks with a knee injury. … Torrey Smith (knee) remained sidelined at Tuesday’s practice.