The Pittsburgh Steelers and Le’Veon Bell failed to come to an agreement on a long-term contract Monday, meaning the running back will play next season on the franchise tag.
Monday was the deadline for players who were franchise-tagged earlier this off-season to reach a long-term deal with their team. Will no deal in place, Bell will play on the franchise tag and become the league’s highest paid player at his position next season, making $12.12 million, but with no long-term security in place.
"Unfortunately, we were unable to agree to terms on a long-term contract with Le'Veon Bell prior to today's deadline," general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement.
"Le'Veon is scheduled to play this year under the Exclusive Franchise Tag designation. We will resume our efforts to address his contract situation following the 2017 season."
Bell rushed for 1,268 yards and seven touchdowns, adding another 616 yards and two scores through the air, in 12 games for the Steelers last season. The 25-year-old has 4,045 yards and 26 touchdowns on the ground, and 2,005 yards and five touchdowns through the air in four seasons with the Steelers.
Bell, selected in the second round in 2013, has missed the team’s off-season work recovering from groin surgery, and it’s unclear if he’ll show up at the start of training camp or wait to sign his franchise tag.