No deal for Le'Veon Bell

As today's deadline approaches, the Steelers' contract negotiations with Le'Veon Bell are down to the wire

A pair of former Spartans, Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins and Pittsburgh running back Le'Veon Bell, will play for the franchise tag this season.

"Unfortunately, we were unable to agree to terms on a long-term contract with Le'Veon Bell prior to today's deadline", general manager Kevin Colbert said. Villanueva's situation is very different than Tuitt's when it comes to leverage, however, because the Steelers can easily retain the former undrafted free agent after the 2017 season is over with a second-round restricted tender.

Obviously, Bell would have liked the financial security of a long-term deal, but a salary of $12.1 million - $4 million than the next highest-paid back, Buffalo's LeSean McCoy - will have to do. As expected, Bell's negotiations with the Steelers pressed against the deadline of July 17 at 4 p.m. ET, a similar theme with star players such as Dez Bryant and Von Miller in recent years.

Both sides have valid points in this conflict.

Once Bell ultimately signs the tender, he will earn $12.1 million this upcoming season. Bell stayed away from offseason workouts while recovering from groin surgery. He rushed for 1,268 yards and seven touchdowns last season, adding 75 receptions for 616 yards.

Bell will be ready for the start of training camp, although it is not a given he shows up.

The Steelers could still rescind the franchise tag if Bell holds out deep into camp, but that's a near-nuclear option that would shock the entire league.

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