The Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to place the franchise tag on their star running back Le’Veon Bell, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The franchise tag, which will be Bell’s second in as many seasons, will reportedly pay the 26-year old running back $14.544 million in 2018, but the question is when/if Bell will sign.
According to NFL.com, Bell and the Steelers were optimistic that a long-term deal would be agreed upon before the March 6 franchise-tag deadline, but now that’s highly unlikely. The two sides have until July 16 to work on a long-term deal. If nothing is struck by that deadline, Bell would play under the one-year tender once again.
Last year when the Steelers used the tag on Bell he sat out the entire fseason including training camp and the preseason games before he returned to the team. Despite his lack preseason work he still rushed 1,291 yards (third in the NFL) on 321 carries with nine TDs, in addition to 85 receptions (2nd most on Steelers) for 655 yards and two scores.
Bell, who is reportedly looking for $30 million in guaranteed money, has said that he’d consider retiring before playing under the franchise tag for another season. At the very least, nobody should be surprised if he sits out the entire fseason again should he decide to sign the one year franchise tender.