It looks as though Le’Veon Bell has two more seasons left with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
After the news that the Steelers and Le’Veon Bell were unable to come to an agreement, it became clear that Le’Veon Bell’s time in Pittsburgh is limited. It looked as though this was Bell’s last year and then the Steelers would have competing offers from the other 31 NFL teams.
There was a report by Tom Pellisaro of NFL network that Le’Veon Bell was offered 30 million dollars in the first two years of his deal. The third year was closer to 12 million. If this news is true, then you have to think that a second franchise tender is a realistic possibility. Now, let’s assume that the offer Bell got was the Steelers best offer, then you have to think that the Steelers are okay with placing the franchise tag on him again in 2018. Since his offer was an average of 15 million dollars a year, the projected tag number of 14 million plus is within the range the Steelers are willing to pay.
There is an advantage to the way the Steelers can leverage the franchise tag. Once the tag is placed on him, he cannot sign with another team. The even bigger advantage is that the Steelers are not obligated to place the tag on Bell. An example would be if Bell got seriously injured in 2017, the Steelers would not have to pay him in 2018. However, the projected 14 million is still less than what the Steelers best offer is. The only real downside to this tag system is that they are not able to lower his cap hit with a signing bonus.
It is likely that a lot of the issue with the Steelers was over guaranteed money. Bell wanted the Steelers to guarantee some of his contract. He also wanted the Steelers to offer 15 million throughout the life of the contract. All you have to look back on his rap lyrics to know that. Overall, though the Steelers may have a premier back for the next couple of years, they need to start thinking about a replacement for Bell. Maybe James Conner is the answer?