The Pittsburgh Steelers and Running Back Le’Veon Bell have not been able to get on the same page contractually as Bell has been franchise tagged for the second year in a row. The former Michigan State Spartan was seeking a long-term deal with Pittsburgh, but the Pennsylvania based franchise refused to pay Bell the money he was pursuing.
“It became clear the Steelers wanted to pay the position, not the player,” Bell’s agent Adisa Bakari told ESPN. “His intention was to retire as a Steeler… But now that there’s no deal, the practical reality is, this now likely will be Le’Veon’s last season as a Steeler.”
According to an ESPN report, Le’Veon Bell turned down an offer that would’ve given him $13.3 million per season. Bell was reportedly seeking $14.5 million a season and would accept nothing less than that. Through his two franchise tags, Bell will make $26.62 million before becoming a 27-year-old free agent in 2019.
On the field, Bell has been one of the most productive players for the Steelers next to All-Pro Wide Receiver Antonio Brown. Last season, Bell ran for more than 1200 yards and scored 9 touchdowns. More impressive than that, in just 12 games played in 2016, number 26 ran for 1268 yards which is the equivalent of 105 yards per game.
“Even though we could not reach a long-term contract agreement with Le’Veon Bell, we are excited he will be with the team in 2018,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement. “After the 2018 season is completed, we again will attempt to work out a long-term contract with Le’Veon in the hope that he will continue his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
“to all my Steeler fans, my desire always has been to retire a Steeler…both sides worked extremely hard today to make that happen, but the NFL is a hard business at times,” Bell wrote on Twitter. “To the fans that had hope, I’m sorry we let you down but trust me, 2018 will be my best season to date…”