The Pittsburgh Steelers have every intention of reaching an agreement with Le'Veon Bell this month.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday that the team has spoken to the star running back's reps to "try to figure out common ground" for a long-term contract.
Colbert added the Steelers are eager to reach a deal by March 6, which is the last day teams can designate a franchise player.
"I don't like to get into too much detail," Colbert said. "I can say that I am optimistic that we can find common ground.
"Those things are never final until they are final. Until we reach an agreement we don't have anything right now."
Bell earned $12 million under the franchise tag last season and would make around $14.5milion in 2018 should the Steelers make the same move this year, though he has threatened to retire or sit out next season if the team uses the tag on him again. Still, the Steelers are holding their ground.
The 26-year-old finished with 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns on 321 carries over 15 games last season.
His average of 129 yards from scrimmage per game since 2013 is the most by an NFL player in the first five years of his career since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger.