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Steelers officially place franchise tag on Le’Veon Bell for second straight year

The two sides will still attempt to get a long-term contract before the deadline this summer.

NFL: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

We all knew this was coming, but as a technicality the Steelers placed the franchise tag on Le’Veon Bell for the second consecutive season. With the news, Bell will make over $14 million dollars in 2018, if he signs the franchise tag.

Last year, Bell waited until just before the team’s Week 1 game vs. the Browns before signing his franchise tag, and most would agree Bell, along with the entire offense, struggled in the first quarter of the season.

While the two sides can still get a contract done between now and the deadline, the franchise tag money will still hit the Steelers’ financial books hard. While some may think there is a chance the team looks for a trade, it is highly unlikely. Regardless of your own personal feelings towards Bell and his plight, he is still one of the best running backs in the league and arguably the most dynamic offensive playmaker in the NFL.

The Steelers are also calling Bell’s bluff in regards to his comments made before the playoffs about how he would walk away from the game before playing under the franchise tag again. Technically, Bell could hold out until Week 10 before signing his franchise tag, but this move would certainly tarnish a reputation for a player who could be looking for employment in the near future outside of the 412 area code.

Either way, the situation between the Steelers and Bell is just getting started, sadly for the second straight year.