Published: Wed, March 07, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Steelers will use franchise tag on Bell

Steelers will use franchise tag on Bell

The franchise tag is effectively a one-year contract that in Bell's case is worth $14.54 million and guaranteed as soon as he signs the tag. He opted against signing it until just before the start of the regular season, and as a result, he skipped the entirety of training camp and the preseason.

In response, he wrote, "lol what more I gotta do to be wanted?"

"I'm the one to bet on myself". So I'm probably gonna end up getting (franchise) tagged. I mean, obviously, I didn't expect the deal to get done ...

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Bell's reasoning is understandable. He is the third Steelers running back to record 1,200 rushing yards in consecutive seasons, joining Willie Parker and Jerome Bettis with that distinction.

Bell points out that he averages 128.9 yards from scrimmage per game as a rusher and receiver - more than any player since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. Bell admitted he nearly signed that contract offer at his mother's urging to do so.

Bell added to the difficulty by putting together another Pro Bowl season. Any team signing a restricted free agent to the highest amount would have to part with a first-round draft pick as compensation. Freeman's five-year, $41.25 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons is the league's gold standard for the position, ahead of McCoy's five-year, $40 million contract with the Buffalo Bills.

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If there's one knack against Bell, it's his lack of availability.

WASHINGTON: Kirk Cousins' time with the team is all but over after Washington chose not to use the franchise tag on the quarterback. Devonta Freeman is now the league's highest paid running back at $8.25 million per year. If Bell has a poor 2018, then the team can easily go in a different direction. During his five National Football League seasons, he has been selected to the Pro Bowl three times (2014, 2016, 2017) and named first-team All-Pro twice (2014, 2017).

"Just get the numbers straight exactly where we want them", Bell told Fowler. His argument is that he is a uniquely versatile player who excels as a runner, a pass-catcher and a blocker.

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