So why is Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell reporting on Friday, when the players will be off until Monday? The answer is lurking in Article 20, Section 4 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
If Bell doesn’t report after the final roster cuts to 53 on Saturday, the Steelers could place him on the roster exempt list for up to two weeks of the regular season. Per the CBA, the Steelers and Bell would be required to agree in writing as to the compensation he would be paid while on roster-exempt status. This means that the Steelers could pay Bell him less than his $711,000 game check for the first two weeks of the season, based on his $12.1 million franchise tender.
While it’s unlikely that the Steelers would have played hardball with Bell on this point, reporting on Friday removes any chance of it happening.
Of course, there’s still a chance the Steelers will rescind the franchise tender before Bell reports and signs it. But that chance is likely infinitesimal. (#wordofthedaycalendar.)