“Foregone Conclusion” Steelers Tag Bell

The Steelers and Le’Veon Bell are headed toward another negotiation this offseason, and the sides could be set for another lengthy impasse.

It’s now seen as a “foregone conclusion” the Steelers will apply the franchise tag to Bell, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. Bell is finishing out his age-25 season playing on the $12.12MM tag. He’s making by far the most money among backs this season and doesn’t plan to adjust his demands, La Canfora notes.

Bell wanted $16MM per year during the most recent negotiation, and he will be seeking at least that much now after an injury-free regular season. The Steelers offered him a deal that would have paid him $30MM over the contract’s first two years. If he plays on the tag next season, he’ll make $14.54MM. Bell will have cost himself nearly $4MM between 2016-17 in that scenario.

La Canfora reports this impending Bell/Steelers standoff will likely go toward the July 15 deadline again. The running back wants a deal similar to Adrian Peterson‘s 2011 extension. Peterson signed for seven years and $100MM in 2011 on a deal that proved to be a major outlier and one that was signed prior to the running back position’s decrease in value. Devonta Freeman‘s $8.25MM-AAV contract tops the current market.

He’s likely steamrolling toward a second first-team All-Pro appearance. Prior to being held out in Week 17, Bell amassed 1,946 yards from scrimmage — second-most in his career. He carries incredible value to the Steelers’ perennial Super Bowl hopes. But Pittsburgh gave Bell 406 touches this season — by far a career-high. The high-volume back now has one fewer prime season remaining, which could well factor into these talks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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6 comments on ““Foregone Conclusion” Steelers Tag Bell

  1. connfyoozed

    He’s worth it. The Steelers would be stupid not to franchise tag him. I don’t blame Bell for asking for a whole lot of money, and I don’t blame the Steelers for being cautious because of Bell’s workload, injury history and marijuana history. But Le’veon is worth every penny he is paid, and there are very few RBs you can say that about anymore.

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    • JT19

      He probably won’t be worth every penny that he is paid, but I agree that the Steelers should pay him. The issue now is that the team is pretty much up against the cap (if not projected to be over it) so fitting in a contract for Bell while also maintaining cap space to address other holes/issues is going to be the bigger issue.

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    • Pablo

      Why would marijuana history worry them? Chances are in the near future the league will allow medical marijuana for players. A good size pool of current and former players want it for the pain. Basketball players are pushing for it in the NBA too. For now I think Bell knows how much it would cost him to be suspended over something so stupid.

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      • mcmillankmm

        Since he’s already been suspended once, he would most likely receive a lengthy suspension if caught again, granted they wouldn’t have to pay him for games missed, but they don’t want to be without him.

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    • madmanTX

      He may be worth it, but I’d be shocked if Bell is a Steeler after next season with his salary demand. He can be replaced. I doubt he’ll be as effective on another team.

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