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Steelers create cap space, possibly for Le’Veon Bell deal

Divisional Round - Jacksonville Jaguars v Pittsburgh Steelers

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts on the sideline with Le’Veon Bell #26 against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second half of the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field on January 14, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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The Steelers and running back Le’Veon Bell have set an artificial deadline of February 20 for negotiating a long-term contract. Whether Bell gets a multi-season deal or another one-year franchise tender, the Steelers have created extra cap space, which will make it easier to keep him.

Simple restructurings of the contracts of guard David DeCastro and defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt created $13.26 million in cap space for 2018, according to Field Yates of

The Steelers accomplished the maneuver by converting all 2018 compensation for both players, with the exception of their minimum salaries, to signing bonuses.

The extra $13.26 million in cap space now means that an extra $13.26 million will apply to the team’s cap in future years.

Application of the franchise tag to Bell will cost $14.52 million for 2018, due to the rule that guarantees him a 20-percent raise over his $12.1 million cap number from 2017.