Le’Veon Bell’s next season with the Pittsburgh Steelers will almost certainly be his last.
The Pro Bowl running back and the defending AFC North champions failed to reach an agreement on a new contract by Monday’s deadline, meaning he will play under the franchise tag for a second straight year and hit the open market next spring.
Bell tweeted that he ‘‘both sides worked extremely hard’’ to try and find common ground but ultimately could not.
to all my Steeler fans, my desire always has been to retire a Steeler…both sides worked extremely hard today to make that happen, but the NFL is a hard business at times…to the fans that had hope, I’m sorry we let youu down but trust me, 2018 will be my best season to date…
— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) July 16, 2018
Bell, 26, is one of the league’s most versatile players and he has long maintained he wants to be paid accordingly. In addition to serving as a workhorse in the backfield — his 321 rushing attempts last season led the NFL — he also caught 85 passes, good for 10th in the league.
Bell will make $14.5 million whenever he signs his franchise tender, which likely won’t be until the end of training camp. It’s the path Bell followed last summer after the Steelers placed the franchise tag on him for the first time.