Le’Veon Bell Fails To Report To Steelers, Will Miss Out On Rest Of Season And $14.5M Franchise Tag
Tuesday at 4 p.m. EST was the deadline set for All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell to be eligible to play in the 2018-2019 season on a franchise tag.
However, Bell failed to report to the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ (6-2) headquarters by the league’s official deadline and will thus miss out on the rest of the season and $14.5 million.
“I want to confirm that Le’Veon Bell did not sign his Franchise Tender today and, as a result, he will not be eligible to play football during the 2018 season,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement.
😱 WATCH: This man burned his Le’Veon Bell jersey after today’s news that Bell did not report to the Steelers by deadline, making him ineligible to play this season. pic.twitter.com/3URUqQzWAO
— WTAE-TV Pittsburgh (@WTAE) November 14, 2018
Bell missed the 2017 training camp when both sides couldn’t agree on a contract, but he eventually played on a $12.12 million tag.
Bell took it a step further this year by going AWOL after turning down a five-year, $70 million offer because of what he calls a “low true guarantee” of $17 million.
The Steelers explored dealing Bell before the Oct. 30 trade deadline, but no deal was possible without his signature.
In the offseason, the Steelers could consider using a $14.5 million transition tag, which would allow them to match any outside offer for Bell or let him walk in free agency. If he signed a lucrative deal elsewhere, the Steelers would receive a mid-round compensatory draft pick.
When asked what happens if Bell never returns to the Steelers, coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday afternoon, “So be it.”
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin he understands the business of football but has no expectation about Le’Veon Bell. Asked about potentially never coaching Bell again, Tomlin said, “so be it.” pic.twitter.com/T6m2r7oYDc
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) November 13, 2018
Bell’s replacement, James Conner, is currently ranked third in the NFL in rushing yards (771) and rushing touchdowns (10). He also leads the league with eight runs of 20-plus yards. Conner is essentially out-performing what Bell himself did last year.
Le’Veon Bell just voted for James Conner for the Pro Bowl.
— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) November 13, 2018
Big Ben and the Steelers are moving on after Le’Veon’s no-show. pic.twitter.com/pINaNmNYjU
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 14, 2018
Pittsburgh will head to Florida on Sunday to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6). This game will air at 1:00 p.m. EST on CBS.