Fowler: Steelers “Expected To Press” Bell For Long-Term Deal

It’s one of the last hurdles the Pittsburgh Steelers are trying to clear before training camp and the start of 2017. Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the team will make a last-minute push to get a contract extension done with Le’Veon Bell.

From Fowler:

“With the Steelers expected to press Le’Veon Bell’s franchise tag negotiation toward the Monday deadline, the team still desires to complete a long-term deal with their star back.”

Fowler continues by mentioning the team could give Bell a “hefty” signing bonus to get him to the ink a deal, though that seems more like speculation on his part and generally not how the team does business.

Each side will have until 4 PM Monday afternoon to reach an extension. If they fail to, Bell will have no choice but to play on his one year franchise tag worth $12.1 million. Fowler also makes a pass at a “hold out” for Bell, but that would be fruitless and frankly, dumb. The Steelers won’t be allowed to do a long-term deal following Monday’s deadline, meaning there’s nothing for Bell to gain from sitting out camp.

There hasn’t been much in the way of reports of progression between both sides. Bell was in Pittsburgh recently but flew down to Miami this week. Of course, it’s not required for him to be around negotiations until Monday, when he’d have to sign a contract.

While the deadline is fast approaching, these types of deals often happen as the clock strikes midnight. Until then, each side usually postures up and holds ground, caving only when Father Time demands it. As far as we can tell, it’s a 50-50 shot if a long-term deal gets ironed out. The fact the Steelers want to get a deal done does seem to bode well for the odds. I’m sure Bell would prefer to stay in Pittsburgh, too.

For what it’s worth, Bell has a much better shot at avoiding the tag than the two others in the league who have been tagged. Kirk Cousins is unlikely to get an extension with Washington and the Rams’ Trumaine Johnson has no shot of a long-term deal.

Stick around for a couple more days. We’ll get our answer.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • LucasY59

    since they already have cap space this yr (with Bell’s 12 mil tag charge) I was hoping the signing bonus wouldnt be as big and they could structure the deal so that his cap hit stays the same this yr (with an extension) and the future yrs of the deal would be more affordable that way, but it doesnt look like that will happen…

    maybe the AV and Tuitt deals will be easier to get done this yr if there is a bit more cap space (created by a big signing bonus for Bell)

  • Andrew Norwood

    That’s assuming it gets done at all. It’s possible he’s asking for something nearly as stupid as his song implies. If so, let’s hope the FO sticks to their guns. In a salary cap era, you’d think you would want a lot of good players left around you. He’s damn good, but he wouldn’t look nearly as good if he were playing behind our 2008 O line, for instance.

  • Jaybird

    Tag him again next year at 14 million . So two years 26 million. I think we have a two year window to win a super bowl so that makes sense to me. After two years we can reassess bell’s situation and maybe work out another deal. If he ain’t worth it in two years , then part ways. I would not give him s hugs multiyear contract with tons of guaranteed money now though.

  • Sam Clonch

    Want them to get it done so they can move on to Tuitt already.

  • Michael Mosgrove


  • StrengthOfVictory

    Order a spread of Bell’s favorite food at the Steelers facility, and just make Monday an all-day negotiation. Money talk goes down better when food is involved. 🙂

  • Brian Miller

    This! I’m bothered by this whole deal because it is hampering AV and Tuitt getting new deals. Right there with you…

  • Dave Walden

    That would be more expensive

  • LucasY59

    unless he wants more than 13 mil/yr (rumors were 14 or 15+)

  • LucasY59

    that is a possiblity, especially since there is a chance they will have run the wheels off him by then,

    I dont want them to tag him twice, but if he doesnt get an extension done it could happen (If I were the Steelers I might use the non-exclusive tag next yr and try and bait a team to sign him and take the two 1st rd picks)

  • LucasY59

    they wouldnt start (serious) negotiations on that until Camp starts anyway, so Bell’s deal doesnt affect it that much at all

  • Jaybird

    what kind of extension do you think it would take to keep him here, and how much guarenteed ?

  • Sam Clonch

    You’re probably right. It’s just been worrying me. I think it’s a much bigger deal than the media has been recognizing. He’s a premiere 3-4 DE in my opinion, and just starting! Definitely a guy they should keep.

  • LucasY59

    Im not too worried, I think it will get worked out eventually with Tuitt

    DeCastro deal didnt get signed until the beginning of Sept. last yr so there is a chance it could take that long until Tuitt’s deal gets done

    Villanueva deal might get done before Tuitt’s since he hasnt signed his ERFA tender yet

  • Sam Clonch

    I remember that, but I also remember DD was the main concern that whole off-season. This year we’ve already had Brown, now Bell, and THEN Tuitt. I don’t want him to get forgotten!!

  • Matt Manzo

    That would extra rad if we win the SB this year!

  • Reader783

    Or sign him to 4 years $40MM right now so we can save money for our many impending free agents…money is tight for us, that extra $3MM can help every year

  • LucasY59

    some (bad) desperate team signs him and they get a top ten pick… (and another the next yr) It would suck to lose Bell, but if he wants too much $ and they cant keep him around it would be the best case scenario (other than being able to keep Lev and watch him have a HOF career)

  • Rocksolid20

    Shuffle off to Buffalo . See how he like being on an 8-8 team .

  • Steel Realist PAul

    If you base anything off of Bells rap lyrics, he’s not going to be an easy sign. Wants to be the highest paid.

  • Paddy

    Looking forward to the first game, until then I don’t pay too much attention.

  • popsiclesticks

    AB had been “owed”, Bell has a deadline. It’s just timing. I’d bet $1000 that Tuitt is extended.

  • popsiclesticks

    I think that’s just lyrics, nothing more. He’s going to be the highest paid the second he signs the franchise tag.

  • Sam Clonch

    I don’t claim my anxiety is justified, just that I have some, lol.

  • Jaybird

    I just don’t want tons of guarenteed money several years down the road. I’d take 4-40 if the first two years were guarenteed only. I’m worried about injury and production drop off 3 or 4 years down the road.
    And let’s be clear , there’s no guarentee that 4-40 would be enough. Bell might want 4-52 or even more.

  • D.j. Reynolds

    We should easily make him the highest paid – the franchise tag does that (at least annually). The question really is how much more is he demanding/team willing to pay above L. McCoy’s @$8MM/yr deal.

    Personally, I’d be ecstatic at a slightly front loaded 4yr-$40MM with $16MM signing bonus with annual salaries of $7MM, $6MM, $6MM, and $5MM. If you do the math, you see he gets $29MM ($3MM more than 2 tags) in first two years and his cap hit is low enough in later years that he shouldn’t be in danger of a cut based on a decline.