The Bell Tolls: LeVeon Hit With Another Franchise Tag as Deal Delays
LeVeon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers have been reading from the same script when it comes to the future of their relationship - they want to see it continue for a long time to come.
Le'Veon Andrew BellLe'Veon Andrew Bell Running back #26
Ht / Wt: 6'1' / 225 lb
College: Michigan State
Drafted: 2013 / Round: 2 / Pick: 48
Career: Steelers (2013–present)
Steelers: Collectibles | Tickets
Although both parties have expressed the desire for a contract extension, they've been less than timely when it comes to actually putting pen to paper. As things stand right now, they have until July 16 to seal the deal.
LeVeon, a two-time All-Pro and arguably one of the best running backs in the NFL right now, had an exclusive franchise tag placed on him by the Steelers management for the second year in a row, which didn't do Steelers odds for next season any harm at all, but threw up a few questions about his long-term outlook with the outfit.
Bell racked up a yardage of 1,946 with 11 touchdowns in 2017 for the AFC North champs, a performance that led both the Steelers and Bell to state their desire to get a contract extension done with quickly. The franchise tag has to be used by a certain date or it becomes void, and that day came and went a couple of days ago. The contract still wasn't finalized, so they had to resort to tagging him.
LeVeon is looking at a $14.54 million payday for 2018 if he puts pen to paper in the new deal, but the two sides are having difficulties in reaching a consensus on the terms of the agreement. Last year, the impasse saw Bell give off-season practice sessions and last summer's training camp a miss before coming in as the new season was just about to kick off. Though his absence slowed down his start, he still managed to play a key role in the Pittsburgh offense, catching 85 passes for a new club record.
His versatility is what saw him called up to the All-Pro team's flex position, and it backs up Bell's claims to be something special among the backs in the league. He believes his pay package should reflect this. Some consider him to be the best receiving back currently in the league, and he's had an average of 25 touches in each game for the past five seasons. This in spite of only being healthy twice by the end of the year and suffering two separate NFL suspensions owing to violations of the league's substance abuse policies.
Last summer, Bell turned a long-term deal down and said to ESPN that he would consider retirement if the franchise used the franchise tag on him again. He softened up a bit, however, during the Pro Bowl when he revealed that a new deal was in the works, as echoed by Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and president Art Rooney II.
The team's depth behind Bell is rather thin, with a 32-catch-rookie-season James Conner and new signing Stevan Ridley the ones backing him up. All-in-all, Bell obviously has a lot of affection for the Pittsburgh he grew up in and the Steelers that put him n the big leagues, so we can expect them to work things out.

Career Statistics

Year Team Games Rushing Receiving Fumbles
G GS Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
2013 PIT 13 13 244 860 3.5 43 8 45 399 8.9 43 0 1 1
2014 PIT 16 16 290 1,361 4.7 81 8 83 854 10.3 48 3 0 0
2015 PIT 6 6 113 556 4.9 42 3 24 136 5.7 20 0 0 0
2016 PIT 12 12 261 1,268 4.9 44 7 75 616 8.2 32 2 4 1
2017 PIT 15 15 321 1,291 4.0 27 9 85 655 7.7 42 2 3 2
Career 62 62 1,229 5,336 4.3 81 35 312 2,660 8.5 48 7 8 4

Playoffs Statistics

Year Team Games Rushing Receiving Fumbles
G GS Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
2016 PIT 3 3 65 357 5.5 38 2 4 3 0.8 4 0 0 0
Total 3 3 65 357 5.5 38 2 4 3 0.8 4 0 0 0


Shop for Authentic Autographed Steelers Collectibles at

Signed Ben Roethlisberger Merchandise & Authentic Collectibles

More Starting Lineups