Are all of the Killer B’s coming back in 2018?

The neverending question which never seems to be a foregone conclusion: will the Killer B’s be back?

Each season, injuries, suspensions and other conjecture threaten the very structure of what could be the most dominant group of players in this era of the NFL. The upcoming 2018 season isn’t lacking in rumors, all of which once again poke holes into the possibility of the Killer B’s being around for another season.

Below I look at some of those individual “B’s” and discuss if they’ll be back in a Steelers uniform this season.

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Antonio Brown

Finally, for the first time in several seasons, Brown won’t be the subject of “new contract” talks, following a five-year deal (four-year extension) he and the Steelers struck early last year.

For several offseasons, media analysts and football critics kept the logs burning on the AB “needs paid” fire. The ashes of that fire have died out, and Brown appears set to retire a Steeler, as his current contract runs through the 2021 season: the receiver will be 32 years of age at the point of his career.

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Ben Roethlisberger

It looks like this fire is slowly dying as well. Last season, Roethlisberger drove everyone to madness with his hints of “reflecting” during the offseason, which many ran to the mountain to shout a different “R” word interpretation: “retirement”.

Big Ben was quick to state he would be back for 2018 and has gone as far as to say he would like to play for several more seasons (with some reports giving a hard number of “three”).

It’s great to know that Pittsburgh’s franchise quarterback isn’t going anywhere soon. Now if only we can get some of the draft experts (Mel Kiper) to get on board too and stop sending Ben out to pasture!

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Le’Veon Bell

Question mark numero uno: will the Steelers tag Le’Veon Bell?

And does the Steelers tagging Bell, which would extend the time needed for a longterm deal with the running back, backfire and cause a rift between the two parties?

Le’Veon had stated before the end of the 2017 season that he would not play 2018 under the franchise tag, and instead, would sit out the upcoming season should that be the only recourse by the organization. Weeks later, Bell publicly stated that the two sides were “closer than last year” but a self-imposed deadline between the two parties has already passed without a new contract in place. (And since, Steelers GM Kevin Colbert has reiterated a desire to sign the running back, with yet another new “deadline” in place of March 6th.)

That leaves Le’Veon in limbo: will he return for the 2018 season? And if he does, will it be in a Steelers uniform?

I can honestly give credence to either side of this argument and can’t make a bold prediction toward Bell’s return, or departure. Unfortunately, it might be money that breaks up this relationship. (Stay tuned.)

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Martavis Bryant

Following a full year of football and another full season remaining on his contract, there wasn’t any question that Martavis Bryant would still be in a Steelers uniform in 2018, provided he didn’t get in trouble off of the field again.

Well, that assumption went away quickly when a rumor popped up last week stating that as many as five NFL teams have inquired about trading for the big play threat. The Steelers have denied any interest in dealing Bryant, who enters the final year of his rookie contract this season. That contract pays $705,000 for 2018: a steal for a player who could be a WR1 on many rosters.

It’s quite obvious the team won’t be able to keep him beyond this season, as he’ll generate a ton of interest from other suits with deeper wallets. That could be the only reason the franchise makes a move, yet, for the $700k price tag, it would be near impossible for them to find a better bargain. For that reason, unless there’s an offer the Steelers can’t refuse, I don’t see Martavis going anywhere. (Also add that GM Kevin Colbert said the same during an interview at the Combine.)

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Chris Boswell

The first-year Pro Bowl kicker is an outlier when talking about “Killer B’s”, but as most have come to accept, he certainly belongs in this group.

Boswell enters 2018 as a restricted free agent. That means the Steelers will have the first crack at keeping their valuable kicker, but it’s not a foregone conclusion, at this time, that he will be back this season or for the foreseeable future.

Yes, that is a hot take, but also reality. Suffocating from their current salary cap, Pittsburgh will need to make tough decisions and other adjustments to retain some of their stars: while I expect them to keep Boswell, he could also be one of those hard choices to make.

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