Is there a loser in Steelers contract standoff with Le'Veon Bell?

Is there a loser in Steelers contract standoff with Le'Veon Bell?

And Adam Schefter of ESPN reported Monday that Bell and the Steelers remain apart in negotiations.

Bell did not say specifically what type of deal was on the table, or what numbers he was looking for in a new deal.

It wouldn't be ideal but Bell's best way to maximize his compensation might be playing under at least one franchise tag if the right deal doesn't materialize before the July 15 deadline for reaching multiyear contracts with franchise players. If they don't sign them to long-term deals by 4 PM ET, they'll play under the tag in 2017.

"Unfortunately, we were unable to agree to terms on a long-term contract with Le'Veon Bell prior to today's deadline", said General Manager Kevin Colbert in a statement.

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Paying Bell $42 million over three years works out to an average of $14 million a season to that point, a figure that unquestionably would have set new ground for a floundering running back market. "We will resume our efforts to address his contract situation following the 2017 season".

Steelers fans are likely hoping the two sides can come to an agreement soon, because Bell has been a dominant force in their backfield when he's been healthy or not suspended over the last few seasons.

Bell will play the 2017 season at $12.1 million, the average of the salaries of the five highest-paid running backs in the league.

He was suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season for violating the NFL's drug policy after he and former Steelers running back LeGarrette Blount, now with the Philadelphia Eagles, were arrested for possession of marijuana.

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Bell could become an unrestricted free agent next spring or the Steelers could place the franchise tag on him a second time. "But it'll be substantial money and he'll be the highest-paid running back in the National Football League". Absent an extension, they receive a one-year, fully guaranteed contract that has to meet certain criteria related to the pay of top players at their position in the league.

"It is fun to sit and watch and just see what [Bell] is going to do because he is incredibly talented", said Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger last season.

Meaning? Bell is going to get $12.1 million and that's it.

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