Steelers Unable To Agree Upon Long-Term Deal With Le'Veon Bell

Le'Veon Bell carries the ball for the Steelers

The deadline to sign a player under the franchise tag to a long-term extension has come and gone, and for the Pittsburgh Steelers and running back Le'Veon Bell, they were unable to agree to terms.

Bell will play under the exclusive franchise tag worth $12.12 million in 2017. "We will resume our efforts to address his contract situation following the 2017 season".

Obviously, Bell would have liked the financial security of a long-term deal, but a salary of $12.1 million - $4 million than the next highest-paid back, Buffalo's LeSean McCoy - will have to do. He will be a free agent in 2018, unless the Steelers again wield the franchise tag.

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The issue is complicated for both sides. Bell stayed away from offseason workouts while recovering from groin surgery. He's only played 18 games the last two seasons, and has dealt with foot and knee injuries also (as well as a suspension), so the Steelers have reason to be a little cautious. Bell returns to the lineup for the Steelers on Sunday against Kansas City. Bell's patient, pause-at-the-line running style has become his trademark and has caught the attention of many tailback peers around the league.

NFL Network ranked Bell the No. 9 overall player in its 2017 rankings. The Steelers locker room named Bell their 2016 MVP.

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