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Steelers not saying if they’ll franchise Le’Veon Bell

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Steelers running back Le’Veon becomes an unrestricted free agent on March 9, and the team isn’t saying yet whether they’ll keep him from testing the waters.

Pittsburgh General Manager Kevin Colbert said today that tagging Bell and signing him to a long-term deal are both options, but he didn’t rule out the possibility that Bell could test free agency.

“The tag is always an option, and it’s something we’ll use if necessary,” said Colbert. “We have until March 1 to make the decision. Again, this thing is very fluid. It changes daily, once you start into talks with players and start to see how it’s all going to fit. We know that’s an option. Even if we were to use the tag on Le’Veon, we would certainly want to do something long-term and have him be a member of the Steelers for life.”

The Steelers have more than $35 million in cap space, and Colbert likes the flexibility that gives him.

“We’re in a different world. We’re always real close to the cap. I think we’re in a situation where we don’t have to make any moves to get into compliance with the cap,” Colbert said.

Given that cap space, it would be surprising if the Steelers don’t do what it takes to keep Bell in place. And what it takes may be the franchise tag.

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16 Responses to “Steelers not saying if they’ll franchise Le’Veon Bell”
  1. uglydingo says: Feb 16, 2017 4:23 PM

    LeVeon Bell is the top RB in the NFL. No ifs, buts or maybes, he is #1. Rather than just franchise him for a year and still have the problem out there, a better solution is to offer some big guaranteed $ for the long term. He will be expensive but elite talent is so hard to find. Time to pay the man.

  2. sportoficionado says: Feb 16, 2017 4:25 PM

    Steelers have a lot of room under the cap, rather remarkable considering how competitive they are. goes to show you how important the draft is and hitting on as many picks as possible, to keep cap costs down by having the majority of your team comprised of players on their rookie contracts and not overpaying for FAs. Not to mention the added bonus of having players learn and develop within your system and can easily make a decision on whether to pay them when its time. Kudos to the Steelers for that, my Cowboys have taken a similar path in the last few years but still have more work to undue many bad contracts from previous seasons and the subsequent,annual restructuring that was necessary just to get under the cap.

  3. peytonwantsaflag says: Feb 16, 2017 4:30 PM

    Steelers with Cap space is like Lloyd Christmas buying essentials for their road trip.

    Ain’t gonna last.

  4. truecowboyfan says: Feb 16, 2017 4:31 PM

    They’re waiting to see if his “rap” career is going to take off.

  5. joshr99164 says: Feb 16, 2017 4:33 PM

    As good as Bell is, he has been suspended multiple times and seems to be hurt every year. Pittsburgh seems to have no problem letting him be a workhorse. I wonder if that impacts his contract.

  6. poseidon420247 says: Feb 16, 2017 4:41 PM

    Great running back and i think the Steelers are in the ‘ole rock and a hard place’ situation.

    One the one hand the guy is a joy to watch running the rock and is only 24 years old.

    On the other he has torn up that knee a couple of times and is coming of a number of offences and a suspension. Will cash in his pockets slow him ala CJ2k? I think with the uncertainty at QB outside of Ben and his musing around retirement they may have no choice but to pay him top dollar in the event of Ben retiring and needing to ride him for a few seasons.

  7. dougchillin says: Feb 16, 2017 4:41 PM

    What do you mean? He says it plain as day they’ll franchise them if they have to. Your headline makes it seem like they are going to let him test the FA market when nothing Colbert says comes close to that.

  8. bengals1974 says: Feb 16, 2017 4:41 PM

    To be honest, how many backs are still running well after a big contract. There are less and less AP out there doing it year after year.

    Either way, you have to tag him or sign him to a deal.

  9. patsfan4lifesbchamps says: Feb 16, 2017 5:14 PM

    He should test the free agency. Teams like the Giants could pick him up.

  10. fsstnotch says: Feb 16, 2017 5:35 PM

    He will be tagged. Play out this year without injury or suspension and he will be shown the money.

  11. honolulublue says: Feb 16, 2017 6:56 PM

    If Steelers let Bell walk the Lions need to go all in.

  12. gadgetking2010 says: Feb 16, 2017 7:12 PM

    they’ll tag him and see if he can actually go a year without a suspension or major injury. Then they can tag him again or sign him to a new contract after 2017. Playing out the tag should be proper incentive to him.

  13. steelcurtainn says: Feb 16, 2017 9:37 PM

    Pay the man. Pick up a reliable good receiver opposite AB if MB ain’t the man, stay healthy, continue to fix that secondary and the Steelers will be knocking of 7’s door.

  14. nhpats says: Feb 17, 2017 7:15 AM

    No need to pay big money for a RB in today’s league…..spend the money elsewhere

  15. streetyson says: Feb 17, 2017 9:14 AM

    Don’t rag me, or nag me, just because I’m going lame.
    Don’t tag me, just bag me, and bring me to the game!
    Groin-strain Bell, gonna give you Cap Hell.

  16. milehighcityboss says: Feb 17, 2017 11:34 AM

    The Steelers ran Bell into the ground last year and he was dominant. Not sure what else he could do.

    PAY THE MAN!!

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