Power imbalance between NFL owners and players firmly in place

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New Chiefs running back Le’Veon Bell, shown during his time with the Jets, has taken on the NFL in the past and now is on his third team in three years. 

Robert Deutsch / USA TODAY Sports

Two years ago, when Le’Veon Bell was in the middle of an increasingly bitter holdout with the Pittsburgh Steelers, I wrote a column that gave him credit for practising the same sort of ruthlessness that teams use on their own rosters. The system fosters disloyalty, I argued, so good on him for doing just that.Welcome, then, to a new column called Stinson Takes an L.The point of that piece from 2018 remains true: Bell, in refusing to play for a second straight season on a one-year, franchise-tag deal, was only trying to maximize his one big payday and using whatever limited leverage he had against the Steelers.But, it didn’t work. The Steelers didn’t budge and Bell ended up sitting out the whole of the 2018 season. He did eventually receive the big-money payday he sought, signing a front-loaded deal with the New York Jets before last season. As career moves go, this would have been like Robert Downey, Jr. …

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