Le’Veon Bell‘s comment on Thursday that he feels like Pittsburgh treats him as a villain suggests that he might not be in Pittsburgh much longer. And if he’s approaching this season with an eye toward leaving Pittsburgh a year from now, he has a role model he knows well: Kirk Cousins.

But if Bell doesn’t feel wanted in Pittsburgh and doesn’t think the Steelers are willing to pay him the kind of money he deserves on a long-term deal, the best way to find out what he’s worth on the open market is to do exactly what Cousins did: Play out his rookie contract, sign the franchise tender twice, and then hit free agency. Bell wouldn’t get the kind of contract Cousins got because no running back is going to get a quarterback contract in today’s NFL. But Bell could re-set the market for running backs by hitting the market in a year.

Via TheBigLead.com, Boston Sports Journal has crafted an intriguing bit of (mostly) speculation regarding the possibility of the Patriots trading Gronkowski. Citing a “Bill Belichick-friendly source” (that’s the first time “Belichick” and “friendly” ever have been used in the same breath), Greg Bedard suggests that, when circumstances force the Patriots head coach to contemplate life without a given player, the Patriots head coach begins to warm up to the idea of not having the player.

Bedard identifies the Rams and 49ers as potential destinations. The compensation for Gronkowski, who has two years left on his current contract and may have only one year of football left in his career, isn’t clear. Let’s assume that the Patriots could get a first-round pick for Gronk.

If that’s the case, there’s no reason for the Patriots to finalize the deal now. Whether it’s the Rams at No. 23, the 49ers at No. 9, or anyone else, the goal would be to acquire the pick not four weeks in advance of the draft but when the pick is on the clock. This would prevent the Patriots from being leapfrogged by a team that successfully guesses its intentions for the pick.
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