July 17th is just around the corner, and in the NFL that time will literally fly by.
Why is July 17th is an important date? It is the last possible day for any player who received a franchise tag to get a long-term contract extension done before the 2017 season.
One of those players in this position is Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell. Bell, who has developed into the NFL’s most complete, and versatile, running back, would be set to make $12 million dollars in 2017 if he played under the franchise tag, but every player would rather have the security of a long-term deal before heading into a new season.
News on Bell and the Steelers’ contract negotiations have been minimal this offseason, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter released this bit of information Tuesday in relation to the progress, or lack thereof, between the two negotiating teams.
Three franchise players - K. Cousins, L. Bell, Trumaine Johnson - have until July 17 to work out long-term deals: pic.twitter.com/OiAKqI0a8Y— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 27, 2017
There are two key factors in what Schefter shared with the public Tuesday.
One, the two sides are motivated to get a deal done, and two, the two sides are talking.
You see this in contract negotiations all the time, where the player or organization gets so frustrated with the other they completely back out of negotiations. That doesn’t mean they won’t re-enter contract talks when the rubber meets the road, but it is better to be talking, than not talking.
Bell could, and should, make top dollar in 2017 and beyond, but the Steelers have to do what is right by the team in the near future. Bell, albeit in an ass-backwards way, silenced most critics in regards to the health of his groin by posting a video of him playing basketball in California and cutting to the lane on more than one occasion with ease. This after missing both Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and mandatory minicamp.
This should be viewed as good news for fans of the black and gold, because the team’s chances of winning a Super Bowl improve dramatically when Bell is in the lineup, compared to the alternative.