Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell wasn’t interested in finalizing a long-term deal based on the team’s artificial deadline for doing so. So the team wisely has abandoned, at least for now, the concept of setting artificial deadlines.
Steelers G.M. Kevin Colbert, speaking to reporters at the league meetings in Florida, made it clear that the Steelers have tabled contract talks with Bell, for now.
“Once you make the tag, you move onto other business that’s more pertinent at this point,” Colbert said, via Steve Wyche of NFL Media. “Then we’ll address it at the appropriate time.”
The most appropriate time continues to be the deadline created by the Collective Bargaining Agreement: July 16. Anything before that isn’t a real deadline, and Bell’s past refusal to get a deal done suggests he’s not interested in doing a deal based on anything but a real deadline.
The Steelers previously wanted to get something done before the two-week tag window opened. When that didn’t happen, the Steelers eventually tagged Bell for a second straight year, putting a one-year, $14.56 million offer on the table. Unless and until Bell accepts it, the Steelers can rescind it.
Last year, Bell accepted the franchise tender as late as possible, showing up on Labor Day and collecting his full $12.1 million salary. But he did so without participating in the offseason program, training camp, or the preseason, to the obvious chagrin of the team.
As PFT Live heads to Orlando for three days of broadcasts, we’re scheduled to be joined by Colbert, among various other General Managers, coaches, and others.