Report: Steelers offered Le’Veon Bell 5-year, $70 million deal
The Pittsburgh Steelers and Le’Veon Bell were not able to come to an agreement on a contract extension prior to Monday’s deadline despite some optimism about the situation. The result is that Bell will receive around $14.5 million for the upcoming season while playing under the franchise tag for the second straight year.
So how close were the sides to reaching a long-term deal prior to the deadline? NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport didn’t share that, but he does report that the team offered Bell a five-year, $70 million contract.
From what I understand, the #Steelers’ final offer to RB Le’Veon Bell was 5 years, $70M with more than $30M over 2 years. Last year, the offer was 5 years, $60M. … Instead, he’ll earn $14.5M on another franchise tag.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 16, 2018
That would amount to an average of $14 million per season, which is similar to what the franchise tag pays out.
Perhaps Bell’s representation feels that the 26-year-old will be able to secure a larger deal if and when he becomes a free agent, which is why they’re not locking him into a deal with Pittsburgh. The Steelers could use a franchise tag on Bell a third time next year, but they would be on the hook to pay him an exorbitant salary, meaning Bell could be looking at unrestricted free agency next year.
Despite not agreeing to a long-term deal, Bell is holding lots of optimism entering the 2018 season.