Steelers Officially Place Franchise Tag On RB Le'Veon Bell

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Bell will not rule out skipping training camp or even reporting as late as Week 10, which is the latest he could report and still get a salary.

Bell still had a very good season, running for 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns, in addition to 85 catches for 655 yards and two touchdowns.

General manager Kevin Colbert said at the NFL Scouting Combine this week that he's "optimistic" about finding "common ground" on a new deal for Bell, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

Ideally, Bell and the Steelers would get a deal done before Tuesday.

Barring the most unforeseen revelation of this new year, the Pro Bowl running back is going to be hit with the franchise tag for the second offseason in a row.

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Bell was informed of the team's decision on Monday ahead of the 4 p.m. ET deadline Tuesday for National Football League teams to designate an unrestricted free agent on their roster as a franchise player.

"Yeah, the franchise tag deadline is on Tuesday, and I don't think we're gonna have a deal done by Tuesday".

"I hope it doesn't come to that, but I would definitely consider it", Bell said in January. Pittsburgh is projected to have $5.1 million of cap space, according to OverTheCap.com, meaning the team needs to cut or restructure deals to make room for Bell. However, his rushing average dipped from 4.9 yards per carry in 2016 to 4.0 yards per carry last season, and the Steelers failed to live up to expectations by losing at home to the Jacksonville Jaguars the playoffs. In this matchup between an unstoppable force and immovable object, the only way Bell wins is by legitimately convincing the Steelers he's done if he doesn't get the long-term deal.

Few running backs have ever earned $26.6 million guaranteed over two seasons, as Bell now stands to do. Joyner is one of the best young safeties in the game while Watkins caught eight touchdowns past year from Jared Goff. If I'm not getting guaranteed money, I want a lot more up front. He believes the Steelers are negotiating based instead on the running back market.

He took to Twitter and commented on his historic scrimmage yards per game numbers. He plays a position, after all, at which turning 30 makes you ancient.

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