Pittsburgh Steelers put Le’Veon Bell negotiations on hold, but a deal could still get done

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Le'Veon Bell
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Le'Veon Bell /
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Le’Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t any further apart from a long-term deal. The team just needs to turn its focus to other needs.

It’s draft season. Free agency was a complete success and the Pittsburgh Steelers are turning their focus to the next generation of upcoming athletes. For Le’Veon Bell, that means contract negotiations are once again on the back burner.

According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Steelers have stopped contract negotiations with Bell until further notice. With the NFL Draft a month away, Pittsburgh’s focus shifts towards the finalizing offseason needs in the upcoming class.

This happened last year. Yes, a deal didn’t get done, but that wasn’t Pittsburgh’s fault. Bell wanted absurd money, and frankly, he didn’t deserve what he was asking for last summer.

Now, he does. The Steelers and everyone else know that No. 26 deserves to be make $15 million a year, and shouldn’t settle for anything less. That means he might not get paid this offseason, but you cannot determine that from stalled negotiations in March.

It’s an unfortunate reality that this team doesn’t have the funds to keep Bell around long-term at the moment. They can certainly come up with ways to, as they did in signing Jon Bostic and Morgan Burnett. But for the time being, money is low and they can’t put much effort into figuring out ways to expand their cap space a month before the draft.

This is nothing more than business. The Steelers want Bell around long-term, and will get a deal done, eventually. That may not be the answer everyone wants to hear, but it’s the best you’re going to get until a contract is actually signed.

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There’s no need to look too deep into this. Both parties want to work something out. Team needs were bigger than Bell this year, and that might have put him on hold until next spring. But at some point, the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to get this situation worked out.

Right now, though, finishing the roster is first on the list of to-does. Bell, is not.