If we are to believe everything that Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell has said this week while he’s in Orlando, FL preparing for Sunday’s Pro Bowl, we should fully expect him to sign a new long-term contract extension this offseason and even prior to him potentially receiving the franchise tag a second consecutive year from the team.
Bell told ESPN that the Steelers have set an artificial deadline of Feb. 20 – first day of franchise tagging – to get a long-term deal done and that both sides want to beat the clock.
“That is definitely the goal,” Bell said.
On Thursday, Bell was asked why it is that he now all of sudden feels so confident that he’ll sign a new long-term contract extension with the Steelers prior to them needing to place the franchise tag on him.
“Because I think we’re a lot closer this year at this point of the offseason rather than last year,” Bell said. “I’m confident and like I said, both sides, we’ve been happy with the progression we’ve made and I’m excited.”
We are now 26 days away from that Feb. 20 artificial deadline that Bell has now disclosed and those three and a half weeks will fly by relatively quickly and especially being as the Senior Bowl, the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl will keep most of us entertained the next few weeks. That artificial deadline is also prior to the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine taking place.
In all likelihood, Steelers team president Art Rooney II will hold his annual end-of-the-season question and answer session with the local media sometime next week, or the week following at the very latest. When that ultimately happens, I’m sure he’ll be asked about how contract negotiations are going with Bell if he thinks the running back will ultimately have a new deal in place by Feb. 20.
Bell, who played the 2017 season under the $12.12 million franchise tag, is set to make $14.54 million in 2018 if given the franchise tag again and if no new deal is then worked out prior to the middle of July. The tagging period this year starts on Feb. 20 and runs through Mar. 6.
In the meantime, below is a video of Bell doing what he likes to do the most when not playing football and that’s rapping about money.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) January 25, 2018