The franchise tag will run the Steelers over $12 million fully guaranteed for the 2017 season, but it will also by Pittsburgh more time to work on a long-term extension for Bell.
Rapoport adds that there are a number of factors that could impact negotiations between the two sides including multiple suspensions and knee injuries. Given that Bell is one of the best pass-catching running backs in the NFL, Rapoport believes he could command “big time playmaker money.”
Bell said a few weeks ago that he’s hoping to re-sign with Pittsburgh in the coming months.
“I want to be a Pittsburgh Steeler,” Bell said, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. “We’re going to try to do whatever it takes to make that happen.”
Bell added that he appreciates the support he’s received from the team and his teammates after working his way back from a knee injury and serving a suspension.
“That I haven’t even played the full season this year coming off injury and suspension and they still voted me the team’s MVP means everything in the world to me,” Bell said. “Those guys know I’ve overcame a lot of obstacles, they know the things I went through with social media and people on the outside, whatever it was, overcoming my knee in training, I think those guys respect the way I handled myself over the course of this year.”
Bell is in line to be one of the most sought-after free agents next year, which is really something when you consider the position he plays.
Bell, 24, is a former second-round pick of the Steelers back in 2013. He’s currently in the final year of his four-year, $4,120,600 rookie contract that included a $1,376,800 signing bonus and stands to make a base salary of $966,900 in 2016.
Bell wound up missing the first two games of the season due to a suspension before later sustained a season-ending injury.
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.
We have him featured in our Top 30 – 2017 Free Agents list.