“I believe I am [confident]. … I think with both sides wanting to get something done,” the longtime Steelers GM said, via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “… I think that certainly aids your ability to get that done.”
Bell has vehemently spoken out against being franchise-tagged again, even threatening to retire if the Steelers tagged him again. But even in that scenario, the running back will have made nearly $27MM between 2017-18. The Steelers restructured Stephon Tuitt and David DeCastro‘s contracts to create cap room, and Colbert indicated similar restructures could be on the docket.
The tag remains an option for the Steelers, who set Tuesday as an unofficial deadline for a Bell deal. A Bell tag is expected to cost $14.5MM if applied.
“Everybody knows it’s an option,” Colbert said of the tag route. “We’ll never say we wouldn’t use it. Our goal is to be able to sign him to a long-term deal.”
Bell amassed a historic workload last season, accumulating 431 touches across 16 games (counting the team’s divisional-round contest), but Colbert doesn’t see him wearing down anytime soon. He confirmed the Steelers met with Bell following the season to express desire to extend this relationship long-term.
“We met with Le’Veon before he left [after last season] and said, ‘Look, we have a strong desire to keep you with the Pittsburgh Steelers the remainder of your career,'” Colbert said, via Bouchette. “We do know that Le’Veon has been a great player for us. We think he can still be a great player from this point forward, and we’d love to have him be a Steeler for the rest of his career.”
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