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: Will the Steelers and Le’Veon Bell complete a long-term contract by today’s deadline?
There is only one question that can even be asked today. There is no other question that holds close to the impact on the Steelers’ near future. Will the team work out a long-term contract with running back Le’Veon Bell by 4 PM? It will likely be the difference between him being here for one more year or for the long haul.
Regardless of which side you come down on in terms of preference—and there is a very large number of fans who are more than ready to move on from Bell if it takes paying him wide receiver money to retain him—the fact of the matter is that the state of his near future is the question that looms over the day, by virtue of the fact that it is tied to a hard deadline.
Yes, it’s true that they can still work out a deal in the future, but the odds of that happening—frankly, after two years of trying—is incredibly low. There is no rhyme or reason behind the belief that Bell would sit on offers for two years and then not explore the opportunity to hit the open market as it looms on the horizon.
Unless Ben Roethlisberger gets injured and so do about five other quarterbacks on the roster, and Bell suddenly takes over the quarterback position and leads the team deep into a postseason run, then there is simply no way in hell that he is getting tagged for a third time due it its exorbitant cost. So a deal is, in practical terms, at the now-or-never point.
All the while, Bell and the team have expressed reserved optimism about the possibility of a deal being reached, while ‘reports’ have taken a more skeptical view of the negotiations. If the two sides indeed became ‘close’ to a deal at the deadline last year, then one final push at the 11th hour could finally provide the two-year difference.