Pittsburgh Steelers and their star running back Le’Veon Bell couldn’t reach an agreement about a long-term contract before franchise tag deadline set for Monday’s 4 p.m. ET. This means that Bell will play under a franchise tag for a second consecutive year. It could also mean that this will be the last season as a Steeler according to his agent.
“His intention was to retire as a Steeler,” – Bell’s agent Adisa Bakari told ESPN‘s Adam Schefter. “But now that there’s no deal, the practical reality is this now likely will be Le’Veon’s last season as a Steeler.”
Le’Veon Bell also went on his Twitter profile after the contract negotiations broke down and promised the fans that 2018 will be his “best season to date.”
to all my Steeler fans, my desire always has been to retire a Steeler…both sides worked extremely hard today to make that happen, but the NFL is a hard business at times…to the fans that had hope, I’m sorry we let youu down but trust me, 2018 will be my best season to date…
— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) July 16, 2018
Pittsburgh Steelers also issued a statement, confirming that Bell will play under the exclusive franchise tag and that the two sides will try to work out a long-term deal after 2018 season wraps up.
“Even though we could not reach a long-term contract agreement with Le’Veon Bell, we are excited he will be with the team in 2018,” – said Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert in a statement. “We worked very hard to find common ground, but we were unable to accomplish that prior to today’s deadline. Le’Veon will play this season under the exclusive franchise tag designation.“
“After the 2018 season is completed, we again will attempt to work out a long-term contract with Le’Veon in the hope that he will continue his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.” – the organization added.
Steelers made two long-term offers to Le’Veon Bell so far; a $13.3 million in the summer of 2017 and slightly bigger offer early 2018. Then, according to NFL.com, they presented their last offer over the weekend, which was $70 million over 5 years with more than $33 million in guarantees. Although this would make Bell the highest paid running back in the history of NFL, he turned down the offer seeking a salary in the neighborhood of $17 million annually.