Mike Tomlin ‘excited and hopeful’ about signing Le’Veon Bell long term

The Pittsburgh Steelers have until 4 p.m. ET Monday, July 16 to sign Le’Veon Bell to a long-term extension before he has to play out the 2018 season on the franchise tag.

There hasn’t been a lot of reported movement on this front, and the two sides actually went zero dark thirty on it for months. However, head coach Mike Tomlin is “excited and hopeful” that a deal will get done before the deadline.

He spoke about the contract issue with Bruce Rader of WAVY TV, noting “hopefully we’ll have some exciting news Monday.”

If no deal is struck before the bell rings on the deadline, then the Steelers can kiss Bell goodbye until at least the start of the season. He’s not going to show up to training camp without a long-term deal.

On top of that, it seems highly likely that, absent a long-term deal this year, he’ll end up leaving in free agency next spring.

Needless to say, the Steelers have to sign him to keep him. Thankfully for them, deadlines spur deals.