Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell plans to return to the team in Week Seven. Before he signs his franchise tender, there’s one specific issue of business that may need to be addressed.
If the Steelers apply for a two-week roster exemption for Bell, the Steelers and Bell will be required to agree in writing regarding his compensation for those two weeks, before he signs the tender. The labor deal, which sets forth that procedure, says nothing about resolving any disagreement that may arise regarding the question of whether Bell should get his full $855,000 even if he’s not on the active roster for two weeks.
So the two sides will either work it out, or they won’t. And if the Steelers tell Bell that: (1) they intend to put him on the roster exempt list for two weeks; and (2) they will only pay him, for example, 25 percent of what he’s due to make, Bell may decide not to sign the tender, after all.
It’s an important issue to keep in mind, now that Bell has made clear that he’ll be blinking, in two weeks. Over the next two weeks, Bell and the Steelers will have to figure out a small detail that could end up being a big deal, if the Steelers decide to drive a hard bargain with Bell.