As you already know by now, the Pittsburgh Steelers failed to come to terms on a long-term contract extension with running back Le’Veon Bell by today’s 4:00 p.m. deadline and that now means 2018 will more than likely be his last season with the organization.
After the deadline passed, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and Bell both released short statements on Twitter.
to all my Steeler fans, my desire always has been to retire a Steeler…both sides worked extremely hard today to make that happen, but the NFL is a hard business at times…to the fans that had hope, I’m sorry we let youu down but trust me, 2018 will be my best season to date…
— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) July 16, 2018
Statement from GM Kevin Colbert on Le’Veon Bell: pic.twitter.com/APTMajqdbF
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 16, 2018
Colbert indicated in his statement that while Bell will now play under the franchise tag in 2018, the team will still attempt to sign him to a new deal after the season has ended and presumably prior to the start of the 2019 free agent signing period.
As for Bell, his statement included him saying that he intends 2018 to be his best season to date.
The chances of Bell remaining a Steeler past the 2018 season now seems far-fetched. At this point, the running back will undoubtedly test free agency in 2019 and then likely sign with the highest bidder.
Bell’s agent, Adisa Bakari reportedly said the following after Monday’s deadline to sign his client had passed.
“It became clear the Steelers wanted to pay the position, not the player.”
Via Le'Veon Bell's agent Adisa Bakari: "His intention was to retire as a Steeler. But now that there's no deal, the practical reality is, this now likely will be Le'Veon's last season as a Steeler."
More: "It became clear the Steelers wanted to pay the position, not the player."
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 16, 2018