Le’Veon Bell‘s agent says the running back is unlikely to be in Pittsburgh after the 2018 season. Steelers GM Kevin Colbert, meanwhile, is still hoping to keep Bell in place for years to come.
“Even though we could not reach a long-term contract agreement with Le’Veon Bell, we are excited he will be with the team in 2018,” Colbert said in a statement. “We worked very hard to find common ground, but we were unable to accomplish that prior to today’s deadline. Le’Veon will play this season under the exclusive franchise tag designation. After the 2018 season is completed, we again will attempt to work out a long-term contract with Le’Veon in the hope that he will continue his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
Bell will indeed be with the team for 2018, but until he formally signs his tag, it’s anyone’s guess as to when Bell’s 2018 season will start. The good news for Steelers fans is that Bell vowed on Twitter to make 2018 his “best season to date.” If taken literally, Bell would have to play in all 16 games in order to turn in a career year, so that could be an indication that Bell will be in uniform for Week 1.
Although Bell may be disappointed with today’s outcome, he’s still set to earn $14.5MM for the 2018 season. The running back would miss out on more than $900K for every game that he misses, so it would behoove him to sign his tender in advance of September.
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