The Steelers and running back Le'Veon Bell are in similar positions to the ones they were in at this point last year, but General Manager Kevin Colbert thinks the outcome of their contract talks will be different.
Colbert said “I believe I am” optimistic when asked about the chances of signing Bell to a long-term contract rather than using the franchise tag for the second straight year.
“We met with Le’Veon before he left and said, ‘Look, we have a strong desire to keep you with the Pittsburgh Steelers the remainder of your career,'” Colbert said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We do know that Le’Veon has been a great player for us. We think he can still be a great player from this point forward, and we’d love to have him be a Steeler for the rest of his career.”
Colbert obviously didn’t rule out using the tag, which can be done between February 20 and March 6. Bell would be in line for a salary of $14.5 million if that should happen, although Bell said talks have been more fruitful this year than last and increased motivation on both sides could push things across the finish line this time around.