Adam Schefter reports that the Steelers and franchise RB Le’Veon Bell were unable to reach agreement on a long-term deal before today’s deadline and he will now play out the season under the franchise tag.
“Unfortunately, we were unable to agree to terms on a long-term contract with Le’Veon Bell prior to today’s deadline,” said Steelers GM Kevin Colbert in a statement. “Le’Veon is scheduled to play this year under the Exclusive Franchise Tag designation. We will resume our efforts to address his contract situation following the 2017 season.”
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that negotiations between the Steelers and franchise RB Le’Veon Bell are ongoing, as they try to get a long-term extension in place before the 4 pm EST deadline today.
According to Rapoport, no deal is close right now nor is an agreement considered imminent. Rapoport adds that negotiations between the two parties may very well go down to the wire today.
Dan Graziano previously suggested that a four-year contract worth between $40-45 million with around $20 million guaranteed as a deal that would make sense for the two parties. This would allow Bell to make $28 million-to-$33 million worth of “new money” and around $8 million in new guarantees while bringing his annual salary to over $10 million.
Bell, 25, is a former second-round pick of the Steelers back in 2013. He played out the final year of his four-year, $4,120,600 rookie contract that included a $1,376,800 signing bonus and was in position to be one of the best players in this year’s free agent market.
In 2016, Bell appeared in 12 games and running for 1,268 yards on 261 carries (4.9 YPC) to go along with 75 receptions for 616 yards receiving and three nine total touchdowns. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 1 running back out of 62 qualifying players.
We’ll have more regarding Bell and the Steelers as the news is available.