The Pittsburgh Steelers appear to have their sights set on an 11th-hour deal with their star running back.
As Monday’s deadline to negotiate with franchise-tagged players fast approaches, the Steelers are still hoping to reach a long-term agreement with Le’Veon Bell, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports, citing sources.
It remains to be seen whether the two sides can close any remaining gap in negotiations over the weekend, as there’s been no sort of indication that a new contract is close.
These deadlines often prove incredibly effective in getting both parties to the negotiating table with a purpose, however, so there can certainly be a considerable amount of progress made in a short period of time.
Being hit with the franchise tag ahead of free agency now tentatively has Bell on the books for a fully guaranteed $12.1 million this season.
While his annual average would presumably check in below that mark over the course of a multi-year deal, the 25-year-old still has all the leverage he could possibly need to become the NFL’s highest paid running back.
A do-it-all weapon out of the offensive backfield, Bell is the centerpiece for a Pittsburgh offense that’s easily among the NFL’s most dynamic attacks. That ability was on full display last season, as he recorded 1,268 rushing yards and hauled in 75 catches for 616 yards despite missing four games.
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