It’s one of the last hurdles the Pittsburgh Steelers are trying to clear before training camp and the start of 2017. Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the team will make a last-minute push to get a contract extension done with Le’Veon Bell.
“With the Steelers expected to press Le’Veon Bell’s franchise tag negotiation toward the Monday deadline, the team still desires to complete a long-term deal with their star back.”
Fowler continues by mentioning the team could give Bell a “hefty” signing bonus to get him to the ink a deal, though that seems more like speculation on his part and generally not how the team does business.
Each side will have until 4 PM Monday afternoon to reach an extension. If they fail to, Bell will have no choice but to play on his one year franchise tag worth $12.1 million. Fowler also makes a pass at a “hold out” for Bell, but that would be fruitless and frankly, dumb. The Steelers won’t be allowed to do a long-term deal following Monday’s deadline, meaning there’s nothing for Bell to gain from sitting out camp.
There hasn’t been much in the way of reports of progression between both sides. Bell was in Pittsburgh recently but flew down to Miami this week. Of course, it’s not required for him to be around negotiations until Monday, when he’d have to sign a contract.
While the deadline is fast approaching, these types of deals often happen as the clock strikes midnight. Until then, each side usually postures up and holds ground, caving only when Father Time demands it. As far as we can tell, it’s a 50-50 shot if a long-term deal gets ironed out. The fact the Steelers want to get a deal done does seem to bode well for the odds. I’m sure Bell would prefer to stay in Pittsburgh, too.
For what it’s worth, Bell has a much better shot at avoiding the tag than the two others in the league who have been tagged. Kirk Cousins is unlikely to get an extension with Washington and the Rams’ Trumaine Johnson has no shot of a long-term deal.
Stick around for a couple more days. We’ll get our answer.