By the start of business on Tuesday it wasn’t much of a secret that the Steelers were going to use their franchise tag on running back Le'Veon Bell.
Reports on Monday pointed in that direction and Bell confirmed that a tag was in the cards for the second straight year. According to multiple reports, the Steelers have now made it official.
Bell said the two sides have not made progress on a new contract after feeling things were closer than any point in the past early in the offseason. The two sides can continue talking until July 16.
Bell did not join the team until just before the start of the regular season last year and has talked about sitting out this season if he got the tag, although doing so would leave $14.5 million on the table. That salary will become guaranteed if Bell signs the tender, but last year’s experience suggests that he won’t be doing that in the near future.