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Le'Veon Bell failed to secure deal with Steelers, will play under franchise tag

Official News · 

The 4 p.m. EST deadline for franchise players to agree to a long-term deal with their teams has come and gone, and Le'Veon Bell and the Steelers only have one way to proceed.

The running back will play under the exclusive franchise tag in Pittsburgh for $12.1 million, the team announced Monday.

"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. "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."

The $12.1 million Bell is scheduled to earn in 2017 is roughly $4 million more than what LeSean McCoy earns in a year. McCoy is currently the highest-paid tailback in the league after he secured a five-year, $40 million deal.

Investing in Bell has become a question for the Steelers since he has been plagued with injuries and suspensions, missing 16 games in his four-year career.

That being said, Bell has been a productive member of the Steelers when he is on the field. Last season, he ran for 1,268 yards and seven touchdowns.

Bell especially shined in Week 14, when he set the franchise regular-season rushing record in a single game with 236 yards.