The Pittsburgh Steelers have negotiated all day with Le’Veon Bell and have not come to terms on an agreement.
The deadline was 4 pm eastern standard time, and thus it is likely that Le’Veon Bell will play on a one-year franchise tag worth over twelve million dollars.
This move is a signal that the end is in sight for Le’Veon Bell’s career in Pittsburgh. At the end of the season, Bell will become an unrestricted free agent. The Steelers will then either have to place the franchise tag on Bell again or sign him to an extension. The Steelers have a hard and fast rule that they will not negotiate with players during the season.
Le’Veon Bell has been a pleasant surprise for the Steelers as a second-round pick. Many were surprised that he was taken before Eddie Lacy of Alabama in the 2013 draft. Bell has earned the status as one of the premier running backs in the NFL. His elusiveness, pass-catching and blocking ability make him one of the most complete backs in Steelers history.
Bell has had his troubles in Pittsburgh as well. He has been hurt in all four of his seasons in Pittsburgh. The worst was the knee injury he suffered against the Bengals over a year ago. He missed most of the 2015 season because of that knee injury. Bell has also been hurt for playoff games like the ones where the Steelers have been eliminated by the Ravens and the Patriots. Bell has also been suspended twice due to drug related instances. His first suspension was when he was arrested for driving under the influence of Marijuana close to when the Steelers had a team flight. The second time, he missed a drug test, and it was likely because of miscommunication with the league. He was still suspended for a total of five games in his career in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers will likely get Bell for another year, but the conversation may change to who the next tailback will be for the Steelers in the future.