Bit of surprising and interesting news around Le’Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers this evening. NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala just tweeted out the team and Bell’s agents are heavy into a long-term deal.
Told #Steelers are heavy into negotiations w/ RB Le'Veon Bell on long term deal. Very good chance they set the market for RBs w/ this one.
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) March 2, 2017
It’s interesting timing to hear this. Kevin Colbert recently told Bob Labriola and Missi Matthews Bell’s deal is unlikely to get moving until after free agency and the draft, given those two elements are more timely than Bell’s deal. Art Rooney II recently said there was no timetable for getting a deal done.
“Obviously, we’re excited to have Le’Veon on our team, not only this year, but hopefully into the future and so we’ll work on that as time goes on and we don’t have any real time frame that we can put on it right now.”
Under the franchise tag, Bell is set to earn $12 million, with the deadline for a long-term deal set for July 15th.
Given Kinkhabwala’s wording of the tweet, his long-term deal may average close to that $12 million tag figure. There’s no doubt he’ll become the NFL’s highest paid running back, pairing him with Antonio Brown, now the league’s richest receiver.
Colbert has praised Bell’s off-field maturity and given reports from local and national media, it seems certain the Steelers will get a long-term contract done before the deadline. Looking at this specific report, it could happen a lot sooner than anyone thinks.