According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to once again use the franchise tag on star running back Le’Veon Bell. The team has been negotiating with Bell over a long-term contract, but the two sides appear to still be too far apart.
The Steelers used the franchise tag on Bell last year as well, which saw Bell sit out training camp and only join the team in early September when he finally agreed to the one-year, $12.2 million deal. When the 2017 season ended, Bell was still feeling raw about his contract status. He told the media he would consider sitting out an entire season, or outright retiring, if the Steelers tried to use the franchise tag again.
According to Tom Pelissero, also of the NFL Network, Bell is seeking a long-term contract with “huge” financial demands. He is still just 26-years-old and one of the most dynamic playmakers in the entire league, doubling as an effective running back and also adding over 600 yards receiving in each of his last two seasons.
Bell ran for 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns in 2017, with another 655 yards and two TDs receiving. His 321 rushing attempts were the most in the entire NFL, and he’s made two consecutive Pro Bowls.