Steelers Place Exclusive Franchise Tag On Pro-Bowl RB Le'Veon Bell

Running back Le'Veon Bell's path to free agency was blocked by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday.

At that time, Colbert said surgery to fix the injury was still on the table, but Bell and the team have since decided against a surgical fix.

The Steelers have made re-signing Brown, who is in the final year of a six-year, $43 million contract, an immediate priority.

The Steelers aren't taking any chances on losing star running back Le'Veon Bell.

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It's the first time the Steelers have used the exclusive rights franchise tender.

Using the tag was always the likely outcome for the Steelers as the sides work toward a new deal. Bell is just 25 years old, is coming off a season in which he had 1,884 yards in just 12 regular-season games, but he has a couple of high-profile suspensions already and expensive long-term deals with running backs rarely are good investments for teams. Bell has yet to play in a full season, and has experienced an injury every year since being drafted in 2013.

After Peterson, the money spent on running backs around the league goes down considerably. If that fails to get done, Bell will play the 2017 season under the franchise tag, which is expected to be worth a little over $12.7 million, according to ESPN's Kevin Seifert. Based on a $165 million salary cap, those percentages equate to a franchise tender of $11.97 million and a transition tender of $9.72 million.

  • Lawrence Cooper