Tuesday marks the deadline for Le’Veon Bell to report, but the Steelers aren’t expecting him to show up, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Of course, if the running back does not come to the Steelers and sign his franchise tender, he will not be able to play in 2018.
Bell is determined to preserve his body before free agency, so, from a business perspective, it would make little sense for him to suit up now. He’ll forfeit his remaining $6MM in salary if he does not play this season, but that’s relative chump change compared to the riches that await him on the open market. Already, Bell has sacrificed approximately $8MM in game checks this season.
Bell’s camp has limited its contact with the Steelers this year, so the possibility remains that the running back plans to show. The Steelers aren’t planning on having Bell for the final stretch of the year, but they won’t know for sure unless the 4pm ET/3pm CT deadline passes and the contract is not signed.
The Steelers lead the AFC North with a 6-2-1 record and they’ve hardly missed a beat on offense thanks to the emergence of James Conner. Conner’s concussion is not expected to keep him off of the field this Sunday against the Jaguars, so the Steelers are far from desperate for a Bell reunion.
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