Steelers GM on Le’Veon Bell: ‘He’ll be a Pittsburgh Steeler in 2018’
Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert insisted this week ‘that despite some conflict and uncertainty, Le’Veon Bell will be with the team in 2018.
“[H]e’ll be a Pittsburgh Steeler in 2018,” Colbert said this week on “PFT Live” at the owners meetings, via Pro Football Talk. “Unless he did something that he didn’t do last year, I think we can assume that if we don’t get a long-term deal done he’ll show up and he’ll be as ready as he can be. Ideally, [we] would love to have him there for training camp. Not only for himself but for the rest of the team.”
The Steelers again placed the franchise tag on Bell for the upcoming season, meaning if things remain static, the all-purpose back will earn $14.54 million in 2018.
As it stands, a report last weekend indicated the Steelers have put negotiations with Bell on hold. While Bell has stated he won’t sit out the 2018 NFL season, he did hint at sitting out through training camp if the franchise tag is not rescinded and a long-term deal is hammered out, what Bell has desired for years.
Colbert, however, says rescinding the tag is unlikely.
“I always say that of course it’s a possibility but not a probability,” Colbert said. “We wouldn’t have tagged him if we ever felt that. Right now, we know that Le’Veon will play for us in 2018 if he plays anywhere. That part would never be — I wouldn’t say never because something crazy can always happen. But that wouldn’t be a probability.”
A report this week suggested Bell is seeking $17 million per year in a long-term deal, which would pay him what top-notch wide receivers, like teammate Antonio Brown, earn.
Colbert added this week, as he has in the past, that the goal remains to sign Bell to a long-term contract.
“We’ll try to reinstate those talks,” Colbert said. “Not on July 14th. Hopefully, we can maybe address it quicker than that.”