With Monday’s franchise tag deadline looming, Mike Tomlin is feeling good about the future.
During his appearance this weekend at the Hampton Roads Youth Foundation football camp in his hometown of Hampton, Va., the Steelers coach reiterated that the team would like to sign star running back Le’Veon Bell to a long-term contract.
“Obviously we want to get a deal done, he wants to get a deal done, everybody has said that,” Tomlin told WAVY Channel 10. “Now it’s just about the negotiators getting into a room and doing what it is they need to do. I’m excited and hopeful. Hopefully we’ll have some exciting news before Monday.”
Bell also expressed optimism about reaching an agreement on a long-term deal last month, saying he’s eager to join the team and doesn’t want to have “replications of what happened last year” when his stats dipped early on.
The Steelers used the franchise tag on Bell for the second straight year this offseason, which thus far has prompted him to repeat his stance from last year. He sat out workouts and training camp until he signed the tender just before the start of the regular season.
Bell will play for $14.5 million under the tag but is reportedly seeking a contract worth $17 million annually.
The two sides have until Monday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline to come up with a solution.