2018 Offseason Questions: Do Restructures Indicate Bell Deal Imminent?

The journey toward Super Bowl LII ended far too prematurely for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sending them into offseason mode before we were ready for it. But we are in it now, and are ready to move on, through the Combine, through free agency, through the draft, into OTAs, and beyond.

We have asked and answered a lot of questions over the years and will continue to do so, and at the moment, there seem to be a ton of questions that need answering. A surprise early exit in the postseason will do that to you though, especially when it happens in the way it did.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring developments all throughout the offseason process, all the way down to Latrobe. Pending free agents, possible veteran roster cuts, contract extensions, pre-draft visits, pro days, all of it will have its place when the time arises.

Question: Are yesterday’s contract restructures of David DeCastro and Stephon Tuitt indications that a long-term deal with Le’Veon Bell is imminent?

As I’ve said here before, Le’Veon Bell is going to be the biggest question of the offseason until the situation gets resolved one way or another. And if they end up putting the franchise tag on him, we might not see a resolution in any form until July.

I’m personally hoping that they either quickly get a long-term deal done or do nothing at all and let him hit free agency, at which point it’s rather likely that he will be able to find a team willing to pay him more than Pittsburgh that he can accept playing for.

Yesterday, the Steelers took measures to clear some cap space—well north of $10 million was cleared in total—by restructuring the contracts of David DeCastro and Stephon Tuitt, both of whom received new long-term extensions over the course of the previous two offseasons. Their high salaries mated with the length of their deals made them ideal candidates to restructure their contracts.

Now the question is, was there an immediate reason for that? And the answer is not necessarily yes, because, at some point, that space will have had to have been made. In fact, in the long run, without even making any significant signings, it’s possible that they might have to clear additional space. Practically speaking, more moves will be coming, of course.

But people are naturally wondering if these restructures relate directly to Bell’s situation. Art Rooney II just spoke last week and said that the intention of both sides is to get a long-term deal done, though he said in his experience such things often come down to the wire.

It’s not far from now that the first day a player can be given the franchise tag comes. It could be related to that, rather than a multi-year deal. It could be related to something else entirely. Or it could be related to nothing specifically, other than just to clear future space.

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