Steelers use franchise tag on star RB Bell

The Pittsburgh Steelers have placed the franchise tag on star running back Le'Veon Bell, the team announced Monday.Bell received the exclusive tender. With that designation, Bell can negotiate only with the Steelers and isn't able to sign an offer sheet...

Steelers use franchise tag on star RB Bell

The Pittsburgh Steelers have placed the franchise tag on star running back Le'Veon Bell, the team announced Monday.

Bell received the exclusive tender. With that designation, Bell can negotiate only with the Steelers and isn't able to sign an offer sheet with another team.

The sides have until July 15 at 4 p.m. ET to agree to a long-term contract. If no deal is reached, Bell would have to play the 2017 season under the franchise tender.

Le'Veon Bell has missed 17 regular season games in four years, but when he's on the field he plays more and contributes more than any other NFL running back.

The deadline for teams to use their franchise tag is Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.

Bell, 25, stated his case as the game's best running back during an explosive 2016 season in which he averaged 157 yards from scrimmage per game, the third-best clip ever for a running back.

The Steelers rode Bell into the postseason. They fed him the ball 31.8 times per game rushing or receiving over the final eight games he finished -- all wins, with two coming in the playoffs.

Editor's Picks

  • Steelers make Brown highest-paid WR in NFL

    Antonio Brown is the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL after agreeing to a new deal with the Steelers, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Antonio Brown is the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL after agreeing to a new deal with the Steelers, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

While racking up yards, Bell earned MVP consideration and national acclaim for a patient yet effective running style that showed that running backs don't have to hit the hole right away. In the process, Bell broke Franco Harris' regular-season and postseason single-game rushing records.

Injuries have ended Bell's past three seasons prematurely, including a groin injury suffered during the 36-17 AFC title game loss to the New England Patriots. In four NFL seasons, Bell has dealt with two knee injuries and two drug-related suspensions.

The Steelers stood by Bell during his suspensions in part because of his work ethic, and Bell validated that faith with a monster year.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler contributed to this report.

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

You need to login to comment.

Please register or login.

RELATED NEWS