Jeremy Fowler of ESPN is reporting that the Steelers would still like to get a long-term extension in place with franchise RB Le’Veon Bell ahead of Monday’s deadline.
According to Fowler, the Steelers could include a large signing bonus as part of a long-term deal with Bell in order to protect themselves in the event that he’s suspended again.
As of now, the Steelers have around $16 million of salary cap room to work with, but could boost that figure by signing Bell, who already counts $12.1 million against their cap.
A few weeks ago, Adam Schefter reported that both the Steelers and Bell are motivated to get a long-term extension in place before the July 17 deadline
Dan Graziano previously suggested that a four-year contract worth between $40-45 million with around $20 million guaranteed as a deal that would make sense for the two parties. This would allow Bell to make $28 million-to-$33 million worth of “new money” and around $8 million in new guarantees while bringing his annual salary to over $10 million.
Bell, 25, is a former second-round pick of the Steelers back in 2013. He played out the final year of his four-year, $4,120,600 rookie contract that included a $1,376,800 signing bonus and was in position to be one of the best players in this year’s free agent market.
In 2016, Bell appeared in 12 games and running for 1,268 yards on 261 carries (4.9 YPC) to go along with 75 receptions for 616 yards receiving and three nine total touchdowns. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 1 running back out of 62 qualifying players.
We’ll have more regarding Bell and the Steelers as the news is available.