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The Pittsburgh Steelers had one of the easier decisions among all teams when it came to using the franchise tag.
The Steelers focused their entire offense around running back Le’Veon Bell’s skills in the second half of last season, and rode him to the AFC championship game. The franchise tag for running backs isn’t too expensive, relatively speaking, and the Steelers didn’t wait until Wednesday’s deadline to slap the tag on him.
Not only did Bell get the franchise tag, the Steelers gave him the exclusive tag, meaning he can’t negotiate with other teams. That news came from multiple outlets including NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The running back tag is about $12.4 million for one season.
Bell will presumably want a long-term deal, and the Steelers will have to figure out how to accommodate him. Bell is just 25 years old, is coming off a season in which he had 1,884 total 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.
As far as 2017 goes, there wasn’t any tough decision for the Steelers. Bell will be sticking around in Pittsburgh. It’s up to both sides now to figure out a way to extend the relationship beyond that.
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