Franchise Tag Deadline Looming for Three Teams

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"Le'Veon is scheduled to play this year under the Exclusive Franchise Tag designation".

Bell's 2017 contract ranks second among running backs next season in terms of total cash.

Perhaps one of the most anticipated stories through the 2017 offseason involved the Pittsburgh Steelers and their star running back Le'Veon Bell.

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Bell has until 4 p.m. Monday to reach a long-term deal with the Steelers. His one-year salary would be even higher next year.

The franchise tag was placed on Bell in February, which prevented him from becoming a free agent and gave the Steelers more time to negotiate a contract with Bell.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) runs with the ball during the first half against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. With Bell more focused on rehabbing from surgery than a new deal, the Steelers were without him for all of the team's OTAs and minicamps.

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Does Bettis think Bell has worked that out of his system, paving the way to a long-term deal? The situation for both sides is a hard one to read at best, considering neither side has shown their cards when it comes to the possibility of the running back missing training camp. Early in the offseason, general manager Kevin Colbert and team president Art Rooney II made clear publicly that Bell was a part of the long-term plans. Any substantial drop-off in production or missed games due to injury will undoubtedly hurt his future market value to some degree.

"It is fun to sit and watch and just see what [Bell] is going to do because he is incredibly talented", said Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger last season. That's a worst-case scenario in their eyes and they're gambling that earnings over the course of the next three years will be much more than the $42 million he would get from the Steelers and that he'll earn even more through years number four and five. However, if the sources of NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero are to be believed, that is exactly what the Pittsburgh Steelers tried to do.

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