The Le'Veon Bell saga continues as the Pittsburgh Steelers look to find a win Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers.
Bell's latest posts also followed a titillating Monday tweet in which he wrote, "Fairwell Miami" - leading to speculation Bell was headed to Pittsburgh to talk with the Steelers about ending his holdout. He has lost $855,529 for very week he's missed so far.
Clearly, based on this report, that doesn't mean he'll be returning to the team. As a result, a third franchise tag from the Steelers would cost the team around $25 million. He needs three games at full pay to have the season credited. Bell has made it clear over the past few months that he didn't sign the one-year franchise tender because he didn't want to risk his health, and on Wednesday, he stood by that decision. If the Steelers did decide to go that route, it would be even more costly than normal.
According to The Athletic, Bell and his camp confirmed that the running back would count as a third-year franchise player in 2019 even if he doesn't sign his $14.5 million tender this season. A major key difference between the transition tag and the non-exclusive tag though is if Pittsburgh decided not to match a deal after putting Bell on the transition tag it would not get back any sort of compensation.
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Pelissero reports the NFLPA could potentially fight if the Steelers tried to use the transition tag in 2019, depending on the situation.
We're closing in on now or never territory for Le'Veon Bell in the 2018 National Football League season.
He rushed for 1,291 yards with nine touchdowns over 15 games in 2017 with the Steelers, his fifth year in Pittsburgh.