Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers have until Monday’s 4pm. deadline to agree on a contract extension. Bell is currently slated to play under the franchise tag this year and make $14.5 million. it is likely that a long term deal would be around that number or higher on a yearly basis.
“I’m not going to settle for anything,” Bell said in January when he threatened the organization with retirement. “i know what i do and what i bring to the table. I’m not going to go out there and get the ball 400 times if i’m not getting what i feel i’m valued at.”
The Steelers aren’t known for giving out long term contracts with guaranteed money which is way contract talks have been at a stall for years. They aren’t overly eager to inflate a depreciating running back market where the majority of players make roughly $6 million less than Bell.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is a noted Bell advocate and optimistic that a deal can get done. “Obviously, we want to get a deal done, he wants to get a deal done. Everybody has said that,” Tomlin said, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. “Now it’s just about the negotiators getting into a room and doing what it is they need to do. I’m excited and hopeful. Hopefully we’ll have some exciting news before Monday.”
Irregardless of what happens by the deadline, Le’Veon Bell is going to transform the running back market. Whether he achieves his goal of a long term deal today or by free agency in 2019, whatever happens with him will set the standard for future running backs like Ezekiel Elliot and Todd Gurly.