Report: Le’Veon Bell could sit half the season without new contract
Le’Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers are quickly running out of time to hammer out a new contract. And if the parties are unable to do so, there’s a chance the two-time First-Team All-Pro could opt to sit out a large number of games during the 2018 NFL season, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
In fact, Schefter speculates Bell could decide to sit out the Steelers’ first eight games.
“I think it’s possible Le’Veon Bell sits out the first half of the year if he doesn’t get a long-term deal done,” Schefter said Monday on SiriusXM Radio. “The goal at that point would be to hit 2019 free agency healthy, not rack up another 400 touches.”
If Bell and the Steelers cannot work out the terms of a new contract by 4 p.m. Monday, he is slated to once again be bound by the franchise tag. The expectation has been that Bell would sign the franchise-tag tender that will pay him $14.544 million in 2018. Bell played with the franchise tag in 2017 for $12.12 million. It appears now that Bell is opting to play hardball by threatening a lengthy holdout well into the season, if Schefter’s assertions are correct.
Schefter reported on Sunday that while Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin expressed confidence a long-term deal could be worked out by Monday’s deadline, all signs point to it not happening. However, the parties intend to continue talks.
Despite Mike Tomlin’s confidence that a deal can be struck by 4 p.m. Monday, it will be challenging for Pittsburgh and Steelers’ franchised RB Le’Veon Bell to reach a long-term contract agreement, per league sources. The two sides came close last year and will keep trying Monday.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 16, 2018
All that said, the notion of Bell sitting out half of the 2018 season is obviously a huge development. Although whether or not Bell would actually follow through on the threat should no deal get worked out Monday remains to be seen. Either way, a dramatic few months involving Bell’s showdown with the Steelers is coming to a head one way or another on Monday.