No deal for Le'Veon Bell

Le'Veon Bell

Le'Veon Bell

Pittsburgh Steelers were unable reach a long-term agreement with Le'Veon Bell, who will play under the exclusive franchise tag for the 2017 season.

The Steelers could franchise Bell again in 2018, which would guarantee him no less than $14.5 million in guaranteed base salary.

Bell will play this season for the $12.1 million guaranteed to him by the franchise tag and can become a free agent next March if the sides can't agree on an extension following the season.

The NFL's 4 p.m. deadline for franchise tagged players to reach long-term deals with their clubs passed on Monday, leaving Bell set to make $12.1 million in base salary this season.

General manager Kevin Colbert says the team will "resume its efforts" to re-sign Bell next offseason.

Except under National Football League rules, the Steelers had until 4 p.m. on July 17 to sign Bell to an extension under the franchise tag.

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 past year.

Even if Bell were to sit out the start of camp, there's no real reason to believe an extended holdout is in the cards. It is four million more than the average per-year number in LeSean McCoy's five-year, $40 million deal. Both of those players had already signed their one-year tenders and are under contract for 2017.

NFL Network ranked Bell the No. 9 overall player in its 2017 rankings. Bell's 157 total yards per game last season ranks third all time for a running back. Bell wants to be compensated not just for running the ball, but also paid in line with his pass-catching ability.

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