"Obviously we want to get the deal done," Tomlin told WAVY-TV in Virginia last week. "[Bell] wants to get the deal done. Everybody has said that. Now it's just about the negotiators getting in the room, and doing what it is they need to do. I'm excited and hopeful. Hopefully we'll have some exciting news here before Monday."
Another year without a contract extension likely means the Steelers will see a repeat of last year when Bell didn't show up to the team's practice facility until a week before the start of the season. The two-time All-Pro, who finished third in league rushing last season, has said since February that contract talks have been "closer" than last year, but it's mid-July and no offer has been signed.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport provided an update on the situation early Monday morning:
If Bell and the Steelers don't reach an agreement by 4 p.m. ET Monday, he'll play another year under the franchise tag at $14.5 million. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported in May that Bell is targeting about $17 million annually.
"I don't want to have the replications of what happened last year," Bell said in late June. "But if that came down to that, obviously I got to do what I got to do. Take my stand and protect myself. I don't want to have to do that. I want to go to camp and play for the Steelers long term."
It remains to be seen if Tomlin will get his training camp wish. The Steelers open camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, on July 25.