The Steelers and running back Le'Veon Bell have set an artificial deadline of February 20 for negotiating a long-term contract. Whether Bell gets a multi-season deal or another one-year franchise tender, the Steelers have created extra cap space, which will make it easier to keep him.
The Steelers accomplished the maneuver by converting all 2018 compensation for both players, with the exception of their minimum salaries, to signing bonuses.
The extra $13.26 million in cap space now means that an extra $13.26 million will apply to the team’s cap in future years.
Application of the franchise tag to Bell will cost $14.52 million for 2018, due to the rule that guarantees him a 20-percent raise over his $12.1 million cap number from 2017.