Le'Veon Bell may hold out through start of camp

As today's deadline approaches, the Steelers' contract negotiations with Le'Veon Bell are down to the wire

To play under franchise tag this season

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that the Steelers and Bell couldn't get a deal done despite intense negotiations up to the deadline. If it doesn't happen, Bell will play the 2017 season on a one-year deal for the average salary of the league's top five running backs - probably somewhere around $12 million.

Bell could become an unrestricted free agent next spring or the Steelers could place the franchise tag on him a second time.

The $12.1 million Bell is scheduled to earn in 2017 is roughly $4 million more than what LeSean McCoy earns in a year.

As of Monday's extension deadline, Bell had also not signed his franchise tender. Without any remaining leverage, it now looks like Bell might hold out from Steelers training camp until mid-to-late August.

Both sides have valid points in this conflict.

"Unfortunately, we were unable to agree to terms on a long-term contract with Le'Veon Bell prior to today's deadline", General manager Kevin Colbert in a statement, via the team's official website.

That would give them until mid-summer 2018 to work on a long-term deal again.

According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com, Bell is recovered from offseason core muscle surgery, and should be ready to participate from the start of camp. The two-time All-Pro will play this upcoming season under the franchise tag. Bell set the Steelers' regular-season rushing record for a single game with 236 yards on 38 carries in Buffalo in Week 14. He rushed for 1,268 yards and seven touchdowns last season, adding 75 receptions for 616 yards.

Latest News