Two prominent Steelers currently don’t have contracts for 2017 or beyond. One isn’t attending offseason practice, even as an observer. Another one is showing up and practicing without a deal. Steelers guard Ramon Foster supports both of them.
Saddled with the exclusive franchise tag worth $12.1 million for 2017, Bell hasn’t attended practice, although he reportedly visited the team’s facility last week.
“I haven’t seen or heard much about his situation,” Foster said. “It will be good to see him. I heard he’s in town.”
Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva definitely is in town, because he’s participating in practice without a contract.
“We’re happy to see him,” Foster said. “[The contract] will get done eventually. Kudos to him. He doesn’t have to be here. . . . I’m not sure what kind of agreement they have, but he’s choosing to be here, and that’s what I appreciate about him. He’s the ultimate team guy. Hopefully that shows in his pay increase.”
A pay increase is likely coming, eventually. The question becomes whether he’ll get more than the relative peanuts the Steelers are compelled to pay him, and ultimately whether another team would sacrifice up to a first-round pick for a potential crack at Villanueva if/when he becomes a restricted free agent next year.