With the 4pm Franchise Tag Deadline behind us, that means that the Pittsburgh Steelers and Le’Veon Bell could not reach a long-term deal on a contract. So… It also means that Bell will play the 2017 NFL season for about $12.1 million which is nothing to shake a stick at in my opinion. While both sides clearly wanted a deal, word has it that Bell was just asking too much and the Steelers felt their offer was more than generous.
The road from “Tagville” is far from over because there are still questions that remain.
Will Bell hold out of Training Camp?
You might ask “Why would he do that?” and that’s fair. In Bell’s mind, he may not want to risk a significant injury and ruin his chances for an even bigger payday in 2018. Mike Tomlin used Bell sparingly in camp last year anyway and I think things would look very much the same regardless.
What does this mean for next year?
It’s very possible that the Steelers could use the Franchise Tag on Bell one more time which from a financial standpoint is pretty good for Bell’s wallet. Our Ben Anderson does a terrific job of explaining this and more in an article from the weekend. He also outlines the inner workings of an agreement that could be made between the team and Bell that would change whether or not he gets tagged next year. There is such a precedent.
Will Le’Veon Bell be a Steeler beyond 2017?
Honestly? I don’t think so. Bell can make a lot more money on the open market although his chances of getting a ring probably are diminished and money appears to be at the top of Bell’s list which is of course his prerogative. What this final question really boils down to is whether Bell stays healthy all season and has no off-field issues as well. Should he have injury problems, etc. the Steelers will probably be ready to move on which would be sad. Bell is a generational talent for sure but if he cant be relied upon? Then you don’t bring him back.
What I think most of us would like to see is a healthy Le’Veon Bell lead this team to a Super Bowl title and THEN we can worry about the contractual stuff. Either way, this saga is far from over.