Le’Veon Bell wants to be the NFL’s highest-paid running back. He has made this pretty clear. He probably deserves to be, and there’s a good chance he will be.
But if the Pittsburgh Steelers want to beat the July 15 deadline for agreeing to long-term deals with franchise players and keep Bell from playing on a one-year, $12.12 million contract in 2017, they’re going to have to find a deal that makes both sides happy. That might not be easy, but there’s reason to believe they can get there.
We took a look last week at Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins’ contract situation. Like Cousins, Bell has been designated a franchise player. Unlike Cousins, Bell doesn’t play quarterback. That means Cousins is in a position to cash in no matter what, and he likely doesn’t have much incentive to beat that July 15 deadline.
Bell does, though, which is why he’s more likely to sign in advance of the deadline and get a deal that sets the new top of the running back market.
After speaking with sources around the league, here’s a look at Bell’s contract situation, the risks each side faces if no deal gets done within the next few weeks, and how it’s likely…
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