There’s no deal in sight right now for the Steelers and Le’Veon Bell, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Both sides remain motivated to get an extension done, but it could “go either way,” in Schefter’s estimation.
It’s expected that there will be a push around the time of the July 17 deadline, Schefter writes. That’s typically the case when it comes to extensions for franchised players. Often times, talks will stall but the deadline will spur action.
Despite the off-the-field headaches from Bell, the running back has been a major part of the Steelers’ success in recent years. In 2016, Bell missed three games due to suspension, but he was as lethal as ever when he was on the field. Bell ran for 1,268 yards off of 261 carries, matching a career-high of 4.9 yards per attempt. He was also used frequently in the receiving game as he caught 75 passes for 616 yards. When averaged out on a per-game basis, his 2016 numbers actually bested his 2014 effort, a season which garnered him a First-Team All-Pro selection.
If Bell and the Steelers cannot work out a long-term deal, he will play out the 2017 season on a one-year, $12.12MM deal. Running backs don’t command as much money on the open market as, say, quarterbacks, but Bell could still do well for himself as a free agent next spring. When free agency opens in 2018, he’ll be just one month past his 26th birthday.
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