On April 1, Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell was threatening to sit out the season if the Steelers don’t give him the long-term contract he’s looking for. On April 2, he’s not.
After tweeting multiple times on April Fool’s Day that he was serious about sitting out the season if that’s what it takes, early in the morning on April 2 he tweeted that it was just an April Fool’s joke.
With a franchise tag that guarantees him $12.12 million this season, Bell would be the highest-paid running back in the NFL in 2017 if he signed the tag, and then he’d be guaranteed either a $14.5 million salary next year or true unrestricted free agency. Given the weak market for running backs in the NFL, the franchise tag is not a bad deal at all.
So Bell surely will sign the franchise tag if that’s what it takes. Both the Steelers and Bell have indicated that they’d prefer a long-term contract, but if they can’t agree on terms that work for both sides, the franchise tag is a good deal. Only a fool would think otherwise.