Sports

Le'Veon Bell hasn't talked to Steelers, unlikely to report this week

Le'Veon Bell hasn't talked to Steelers, unlikely to report this week

Bell must sign his franchise tender or sign a one-year deal with the team ahead of the November 13 deadline in order to retain his eligibility for this season.

Le'Veon Bell's holdout got turned upside-down Wednesday night. Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com reports that neither the Steelers nor the NFL is planning on making the franchise tender from this season carry over to next season, but Bell could miss out on benefits in relation to his pension and healthcare reimbursement that are connected to how many credited seasons a player has.

That difference would be more than $10 million guaranteed money next year that would assure Bell that the Steelers wouldn't franchise tag him for a third season and allow him to seek other offers from the outside whether in free agency or the transition tag. He can become a free agent in 2019 if the Steelers do not place a third tag on him.

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Clearly, based on this report, that doesn't mean he'll be returning to the team. If that situation were to happen and Bell was under the non-exclusive tag, the Steelers would receive two first-round picks for losing Bell.

Pittsburgh is 5-2-1 on the season and sit first in the AFC North, while Bell's replacement, James Conner, sits second in the National Football League in rushing yards. 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.

He rushed for 1,291 yards with nine touchdowns over 15 games in 2017 with the Steelers, his fifth year in Pittsburgh.