The Pittsburgh Steelers and running back, Le’Veon Bell, are reportedly much closer to landing a long-term deal than many expect.
After another offseason of what-ifs, the Pittsburgh Steelers fanbase seemed to accept that the team wasn’t going to sign Le’Veon Bell, again. This meant the running back wouldn’t show up during the summer, or to training camp, and would likely sit out until right before the start of the regular season.
But according to Chris Wesseling of NFL.com, the two sides have made much more progress than many believe. During Bell’s NFL Top 100, the running back made comments to Wesseling about how the two sides aren’t trying to replicate last season.
"“I don’t want to have the replications of what happened last year,” Bell said. “But if that came down to that, obviously I got to do what I got to do. Take my stand and protect myself. I don’t want to have to do that. I want to go to camp and play for the Steelers long term.”"
Bell is set to make $14.5 million this season on his franchise tag. However, he is yet to sign the tender, and most expect him to hold out until the start of the regular season. Proving he can still be the NFL’s top back without summer workouts, Bell isn’t too worried about missing time with the team prior to Week 1.
But the two sides have come strides since last offseason. According to Bell, the Steelers and the running back are getting closer, even if that means nothing has been agreed upon, yet.
"“Obviously, the people in the organization try to do what’s best for them and I’m trying to do what’s best for me. We’re working on it. We’re a lot closer than we were last year at this time. That’s what I’m happy about. None of that matters if we don’t get it done. Hopefully we’ll try to get something done. That’s what I’m looking forward to. I got confidence we’ll get it done. I want to do it.”"
Either way, Bell will be on the field in 2018. He’s already made it known that he’ll return to the team by Week 1 if a long-term deal doesn’t get made. Even without signing a contract, he’ll rack up more money than any running back in the league.
The team and the fans would like for a deal to get done sooner rather than later. Both sides have until July 16 to get a deal done before they’ll have to wait until next year to try again. Something many people aren’t too confident will get done if Bell plays another season under the tag.