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.
General manager Kevin Colbert says the team will "resume its efforts" to re-sign Bell next offseason. As a result, Bell will earn $12.1 million under the franchise tag in 2017 and become an unrestricted free agent next year.
With no new deal being consummated with Bell, the Steelers still have plenty of salary cap space to work with even though the running back will count $12.12 million against it. This means the two sides can not negotiate a long-term deal until the 2017 National Football League season draws to a conclusion.
Both sides have valid points in this conflict.
Pittsburgh could be on the hook for a much larger payout to Bell next season if he performs for a full and healthy season anywhere near the level he played at a year ago.More news: Former VP Biden makes Schenectady part of book tour
That being said, Bell has been a productive member of the Steelers when he is on the field.
Speaking on NFL Network, Rapoport expounded on what Bell was looking for in a long-term deal. Bell's 157 total yards per game last season ranks third all time for a running back.
If no deal is reached, the Steelers will have the option to use the franchise tag on Bell again in 2018.
"I'm good with everything, just taking it day to day for real", Bell told ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler of his contract situation. The Steelers begin camp July 27 in Latrobe.