The months-long saga surrounding whether or not LeVeon Bell would play for the Pittsburgh Steelers this season was definitively determined Tuesday.
As anticipated, Bell did not sign his Steelers franchise tender by Tuesday's deadline as stipulated under the collective bargaining agreement, meaning the prolific running back is no longer eligible to play this season. With Bell foregoing the $14.45 million he was slated to make under the tag, it's unlikely the running back will ever play a down again with the Steelers.
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According to the rest of the story,nNFL Network's Tom Pelissero and Aditi Kinkhabwala reported last week, with the NFL management council and the NFL Players Association agreeing the Steelers couldn't utilize the franchise tag's second-year terms for Bell in 2019, it's almost certain the Steelers will not tag him a third straight year. That's because the third-year franchise tag would pay out the quarterback salary number, and it's highly unlikely the Steelers will pay Bell more than $20 million for one year.
It went on to say the Steelers have two other options -- let Bell walk into free agency when the new league year begins in March or place him under the transition tag. The transition tag is a one-year tender that would allow Bell to negotiate contract offers from other teams. The Steelers would have the right to match any offer sheet Bell signs from another team under the transition tag but would receive no compensation if they don't. There is a potential dispute looming from the NFLPA over what the transition tag number should be for Bell, Pelissero reported.