From the player’s perspective, the ultimate leverage isn’t staying away until Labor Day; it’s staying away until the Tuesday after Week 10.
That’s the deadline for LeVeon Bell's arrival and acceptance of the franchise tender. Specifically, if Bell shows up before then, he gets $14.5 million (or $852,000 for each of the 17 weeks he’s with the team). If he shows up after then, he can’t; he’d be done for the year.
Adam Schefter of ESPN said this morning on SiriusXM NFL Radio that it’s “possible” Bell stays away until the middle of the year. Of course it’s possible. But the far more important question is whether it’s likely.
The story said Bell would lose $8.5 million if he holds out for 10 games. He'd also have no leverage because the Steelers wouldn't be able to sign him until after the regular season at that point. The deadline for a deal is 4 p.m. Monday.