If any team in the NFL was going to sign their fullback to a new deal over a running back demanding money, it would be the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Sports are a business and no team plays that card better than Pittsburgh. Don’t get it wrong, the Steelers are one of the most family oriented teams in the NFL. This organization is made from close-knit players in a city where everyone cares about these players as much as their own kids.
But the team expects the same in return, and when it isn’t presented, they move on to the next one. It’s how Mike Wallace ended up in Miami in 2013 and why Brett Keisel played in Pittsburgh for 13 years. You act like you want to be here no matter what and this team will take care of you. Don’t and you’ll be replaced tomorrow.
So, when the Steelers handed Rosie Nix a four-year contract extension, everyone jumped on the “the Steelers are being the Steelers” take. As they should’ve considering their past and the current situation with Le’Veon Bell. It’d be just like them to hand the fullback money instead of the running back.
It’s different, though. Bell and Nix are close. Very close. Bell has made it known numerous times that Nix is a significant part of his success. So, the Steelers are adding bargaining chips to the table as they try to convince their star back to sign a long-term deal that isn’t a billion dollars.
The proof in the pudding is Stephon Tuitt and David DeCastro. Their reconstructed contracts cleared up $13.26 million in cap space. With a cap casualty or two, Pittsburgh could be looking at $12-15 million by the spring.
They’re not going to come up with more than $15 million. As of last season Bell was asking for insane money, so you can only imagine what the number is after the show he put on in 2017.
According to Bell, negotiations are much closer than last year. That may not necessarily mean Pittsburgh’s offering more money, but that these two are coming to an understanding that they can come to a middle ground.
Pittsburgh is smart enough to know they’re on the verge of a Super Bowl. Losing Bell put a huge hole in that plan – one they aren’t willing to risk. So, they’ll make the deal happen.
They’re going to do so without having to cut as many guys as possible. There’s no way they can sign him with the $9.129 million they now have in cap room. The only option is to continue talking Bell to a reasonable number, likely around $12 million, and cutting guys to make cap space.
This isn’t an attempt to throw shade at Bell, but convince him to stay. A Super Bowl doesn’t come without him. He knows that, Pittsburgh knows that, and Rosie knows that. So make sure everyone’s on the same page and get this deal done. Everyone included.