Le’Veon Bell may not report by deadline after learning new information

Ruben Hill
November 8, 2018

After learning more about what his status would be for next season under the NFL's CBA, there's now a "real possibility" Le'Veon Bell won't report to the Pittsburgh Steeler by the franchise tag deadline of November 13.

According to one report, a new piece of information the star running back learned about his own situation this week has him contemplating not reporting to the Pittsburgh Steelers at all in 2018. He has lost $855,529 for very week he's missed so far.

Bell must report to the team by Tuesday - Week 11, before the Steelers' matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars (Sunday, Nov. 18) - or he forfeits the season. If the Steelers did decide to go that route, it would be even more costly than normal.

Instead of getting the average salary of the five highest paid running backs for next season, the team would pay him what a quarterback would make on the franchise tag if Pittsburgh offered Bell an exclusive franchise tender in 2019. According to NFL.com's Tom Pelissero that salary would be more than $25 million next season. He would have earned $14.5 million this season had he signed the Steelers' franchise tender, but chose to hold out in an effort to secure a more lucrative long-term contract with Pittsburgh or a trade to team willing to offer him one.

The report comes two days after Bell tweeted "Fairwell (sic) Miami," which fueled speculation that Bell was making his way back to Pittsburgh. That gives Bell the ability to negotiate with other teams and the Steelers the right to match, which would essentially be the same as him hitting the free agent market.

With James Connor has proven his National Football League mettle in Bell's absence, the Steelers are unlikely to offer Bell a one-year $25 million franchise contract next season, meaning he'll be able to test his market value as an unrestricted free agent.

The Steelers selected the Michigan State product in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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