It’s now crunch time for Pittsburgh Steelers and Le’Veon Bell


With less than 12 hours before the franchise tag deadline passes, the Pittsburgh Steelers and running back Le’Veon Bell are running out of time to agree on a long-term deal.

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With the NFL’s franchise tag deadline ending at 4pm ET, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Le’Veon Bell enter the final standoff hours to work out a long-term deal for the running back. Although reports say that neither party is close to making a deal, these last hours will be where most of the discussion happens.

Right now, Bell is set to receive a $12.12 million franchise tag for the 2017 season. However, even though he’d be the NFL’s highest paid running back, surpassing LeSean McCoy’s $8 million per year, Bell is still looking for a new contract.

For Pittsburgh, they might be looking to get this deal done while they have money. Although the team will have $31,937,575 coming into next season, they’ll have 42 players whose contracts end after the 2017 season.

So, chances are the Steelers are looking to use the $15 million they have in cap room right now to sign Bell this season. Even if there are only a few hours before the deadline, both parties are looking to figure out a solution to their problems before 4pm today.

Again, even though reports say both sides aren’t close, a lot changes on deadline day. The Pittsburgh Steelers may be comfortable with Bell playing for $12.12 million this season, but next year, the tag reaches more than $14 million. Unless Pittsburgh is okay with handing their running back almost $10 million more than the highest paid rusher in the league, they’ll want to get something done now.

As the team’s 2016 MVP, Bell has plenty more bargaining chips on his side. Not only do the Steelers not want to increase his franchise tag next season, but they also want to make sure their triangle offense of Bell, Ben Roethlisberger, and Antonio Brown are happy. To do that with Bell, they’ll need to get him a deal today.

It’s also worth noting that the last time Bell’s agent, Adisa Bakari, represented a running back on the deadline date, that back, Matt Forte, signed a long-term contract on the day of the deadline.

So, maybe Bakari has been waiting to push, and today is the day he’ll make the magic happen.

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There’s a lot going on in this situation, but one thing is for sure – the Pittsburgh Steelers, Le’Veon Bell, every fan, and the rest of the team want Bell around for a long time. Maybe negotiating with the star back is difficult, but with only a few hours left, it’s time to get the superstar a contract and make him a Steeler long-term.