With the 2018 NFL Draft now right around the corner for the Pittsburgh Steelers, contract negotiations with running back Le’Veon Bell remain on the back burner just as general manager Kevin Colbert said they would be several weeks ago. On Monday, Colbert again reiterated that contract talks with Bell will remain on hold until after the draft takes place.
“I’m sure there will be questions about Le’Veon and his contract situation and really there’s no updates to provide,” Colbert said Monday during the team’s annual pre-draft press conference. “As we said previous at the owners meetings and other chances that we’ve had to talk, the combine and so forth, that really, we’re in this draft preparation in full detail and that’s got our full attention. And we usually don’t address these types of situations until after the draft and we reevaluate our salary cap situation and anything we want to do moving forward.”
After the draft is over it will be interesting to see if the Steelers are able to have any meaningful contract extension talks with Bell and his agent. The two sides have a little more than two and a half months remaining before this year’s contract extension deadline of July 16 and because of that, it’s hard to imagine anything getting done prior to July.
For now, Bell remains away from the team after being issued the franchise tag back in February. He’s not expected to participate in any of the OTA sessions in the coming months and has no obligation to do so being as he hasn’t signed his franchise tag. The Steelers have stated multiple times over the course of the last year-plus that their goal is to get Bell signed to a long-term contract extension so that he can end his career in Pittsburgh.