Back in March, the Pittsburgh Steelers placed a franchise tag on Le’Veon Bell.
The intention was to negotiate a contract extension with their star running back before the tag deadline.
Unfortunately for the Steelers, that passed at 4 pm yesterday – and no deal has been reached.
The two parties have been deadlocked for the last few months, with Bell holding out for more money that Pittsburgh could really give him.
Negotiations continued right up until Monday’s deadline, but the talks appear to have been unsuccessful.
It’s more than likely that the 26-year-old will now hold out from training camp, which begins in July – but this is nothing new.
Last year he did the same thing, skipping pre-season practice, in the hopes of securing a bigger deal. But that didn’t happen.
LAST SEASON IN PITTSBURGH?
As a big money contract wasn’t agreed before this week’s deadline, Bell will be earning $14.54 million this season – but could decide to play dirty.
In 2017, he didn’t return to the team until Labor Day – just six days before the regular season began.
This year, he could choose to hold out from signing his franchise-tag tender until deep into 2018 and even miss the start of the season.
But that’s a risk – as Bell would lose $855,000 in salary for every game missed.
Still though, in what looks to be the running back’s last season in Pittsburgh, Bell could cause his team a lot of trouble.
But all of this could have been avoided if Bell had signed the ludicrous deal offered by the Steelers earlier this week.
TURNING DOWN A HUGE DEAL
According to Ian Rapoport, Pittsburgh offered their star man a massive contract as negotiations drew to a close, but somehow, it still didn’t turn Bell’s head.
“From what I understand, the #Steelers’ final offer to RB Le’Veon Bell was 5 years, $70M with more than $30M over 2 years,” Rapoport tweeted.
“Last year, the offer was 5 years, $60M… Instead, he’ll earn $14.5M on another franchise tag.”
If that report is true, the Steelers increased their offer by $10 million from 2017, which would have meant Bell could earn $14 million a year.
Apparently, he was holding out for at least $14.5 million annually in any long-term deal.
In essence, the final offer Pittsburgh made Bell would have seen him earn just $2.5 million less over five years than he was asking for – but he still turned it down.
After hearing that, most Steelers fans would probably want him as far away from the team as possible.