This isn’t breaking news of any kind, but the Pittsburgh Steelers have placed the franchise tag on All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell.
After giving him franchise tag, Steelers will still try to sign Bell long term. Have until July 15 to do so— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) February 27, 2017
The franchise tag for running backs carries roughly a $12 million dollar price tag for one year of service, and the team and Bell will attempt to get a long-term contract done prior to the start of the season.
The tag will keep Bell off the free agent market, which begins March 9th, and allow the Steelers to attempt to sign him for longer than one year. However, a lot has to go into this decision of giving the All-Pro running back a long-term contract before Bell receives a healthy pay day.
The team has to think about his off-field history. Bell has been suspended twice during his rookie contract, and another slip up will have him miss at least another quarter of the season.
Also, his injury history must come into play in this scenario. Bell has yet to play in a full season, and has experienced an injury every year since being drafted in 2013.
The Steelers haven’t used the franchise tag often, and the last player who received the franchise tag was none other than placekicker Jeff Reed. With Bell locked up for 2017, the hard work now lies ahead of the Steelers as they attempt to keep Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown together for the immediate future.