Over the weekend, there was a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport suggesting some headway had been made between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Le’Veon Bell to reach common ground on a long-term contract.
Then Mike Tomlin, who spoke at his annual football camp in Virginia, also said there was reason for optimism, but he added the negotiators would have to get into a room and start hashing out details.
This likely will occur during the majority of the day on Monday, July 16th, when the two parties have until 4:00 p.m. ET to get a deal done. If not, Bell will be forced to play the 2018 season for $14.5 million dollars under the Exclusive Rights Franchise Tag, and likely become a free agent at season’s end.
Sunday night, ESPN’s Adam Schefter threw a good bit of water on the burning hopes of fans who think a deal can still be struck between these two parties.
Despite Mike Tomlin’s confidence that a deal can be struck by 4 p.m. Monday, it will be challenging for Pittsburgh and Steelers’ franchised RB Le’Veon Bell to reach a long-term contract agreement, per league sources. The two sides came close last year and will keep trying Monday.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 16, 2018
This was then followed by this tweet from ESPN’s Steelers reporter Jeremy Fowler:
Yep. Not much optimism in recent weeks/months but let's see whether deadline moves either side. https://t.co/p5rw1lhyDw— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) July 16, 2018
For those who followed this situation closely a year ago, the same thing happened leading up to the deadline.
Some reports said they were close, while others said a gaping divide remained in negotiations. Fans will believe what they want to believe, but one thing is certain — by 4:00 p.m. ET Le’Veon Bell will either be reporting to training camp on July 25th with the rest of his teammates, or he won’t be present until the week prior to Week 1, September 9th.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news on this story as it develops throughout the day.