Bell played on the franchise tag last season for $12.1 million. If the Steelers cannot sign him to a long-term deal and tag him again, he'd make about $14.7 million in 2018. Bell has said he won't play on the tag again, which is why both sides are motivated to get a deal done in the coming days or weeks.
The Steelers tried to sign Bell to a long-term deal last summer and were willing to guarantee him $30 million over the first two years of the contract, but he balked at the offer.
What complicated this negotiation during the past year was Bell's desire to set the market for running backs who, like him, thrive in the passing game. The next highest-paid back in the league makes $8.5 million per season. Nonetheless, the Steelers want to sign Bell, and he says he wants to finish his career with the team.
Reserve offensive lineman Chris Hubbard is likely to sign elsewhere to be a starter for another team based on his strong performance as a starter for the Steelers most of last season. Hubbard started 10 games at right tackle while Marcus Gilbert was either injured or suspended.
The Steelers did not miss a beat when Hubbard played. While undersized, Hubbard uses his athleticism and strong technique to excel. His versatility -- he also played center, guard and tight end for the Steelers -- makes him even more valuable. The Steelers don't have room for him with all five starters signed through the 2018 season.
Unit-by-unit depth chart as of Super Bowl LII. Injured players listed as starters if that was their status when injured.
*Asterisk indicates player ended 2017 season on injured reserve.
TIGHT ENDS: Starter - Jesse James. Backups - Vance McDonald, Xavier Grimble.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters - LT Alejandro Villanueva, LG Ramon Foster, C Maurkice Pouncey, RG David DeCastro, RT Marcus Gilbert. Backups - T/C Chris Hubbard (UFA), G/C B.J. Finney, G Matt Feiler, T Jerald Hawkins, C *Mike Matthews.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters - DLE Cameron Heyward, DRE Stephon Tuitt, NT Javon Hargrave. Backups - DE Tyson Alualu, DE/NT L.T. Walton, NT Daniel McCullers (UFA).
LINEBACKERS: Starters - ILB *Ryan Shazier, ILB Vince Williams, OLB T.J. Watt, OLB Bud Dupree. Backups - ILB Sean Spence, ILB Tyler Matakevich, ILB L.J. Fort, OLB Anthony Chickillo, OLB Arthur Moats (UFA), OLB *Keion Adams.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters - LCB Artie Burns, RCB Joe Haden, SS Sean Davis, FS Mike Mitchell. Backups - CB Mike Hilton, CB William Gay, CB Coty Sensabaugh, CB Brian Allen, S J.J. Wilcox, S Robert Golden, CB *Antonio Crawford, CB *Greg Ducre.
SPECIAL TEAMS: K Chris Boswell, P Jordan Berry, KOR Fitzgerald Toussaint, KOR JuJu Smith-Schuster, PR Eli Rogers, LS Kameron Canaday.