With less than one week now remaining before the NFL’s franchise tag deadline the Pittsburgh Steelers have yet to sign running back Le’Veon Bell to a long-term contract extension and have also yet to place the tag on him. On Wednesday, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was interviewed in Indianapolis on Steelers Nation Radio and was asked if there’s anything new to report on Bell as the tag deadline approaches.
“No, it’s still our intention to sign Le’Veon to a long-term deal,” Colbert said. “Again, we know there’s a franchise tag and of course he and his representatives now that there is. We don’t like to talk about it, but it’s never something we’ll give away, of course. But their goal and our goal is to get a long term deal done and we’re gonna try to do that and we are trying to do it at this stage.”
If the Steelers are unable to sign Bell to a long-term contract extension in the coming days you can count on them placing the franchise tag on the running back again by Tuesday afternoon. That tag will cost the Steelers $14.54 million in 2018.
Bell had previously indicated that he wouldn’t play another season under the tag and that he might actually consider retirement. With that said, nobody expects that Bell will walk away from $14.54 million in 2018 if the Steelers cant sign him to a long-term contract by the middle of July deadline to do so.
As long as Bell remains unsigned, however, there’s a good chance he sits out the entire offseason program just as he did last year. If he also fails to have a new contract by the time training camp gets underway in late July, he might ultimately decide to sit that annual event out once again as well.
“We hope so. I don’t like to get into too much detail,” Colbert said Wednesday when asked if he thinks the two sides might reach an agreement by the March 6 tag deadline. “I can say this, I’m optimistic. But the common ground [between the two sides] are never final until they’re final.”