Published: Tue, February 28, 2017
Sport | By Cecil Buchanan

Steelers place exclusive franchise tag on Le'Veon Bell

Steelers place exclusive franchise tag on Le'Veon Bell

He is the first player in Steelers history to finish with 1,000 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns in three straight seasons.

With Adrian Peterson and the Vikings expected to part ways this offseason, Bell would be the NFL's highest-paid running back if he plays under the franchise tender. In his four-year career, he's only managed to play a full, 16-game season once.

Brown has been one of the league's best wideouts the past four seasons, leading the league in receptions twice and receiving yards once in that span. As a result, he tallied 261 carries en route to 1,268 yards on the ground and seven touchdowns.

One week after that, in a meeting with reporters, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert expressed his desire to keep Brown in the fold for a long time to come: "I can say unequivocally we want [Brown] to retire as a Steeler". However, a lot has to go into this decision of giving the All-Pro running back a long-term contract before Bell receives a healthy pay day.

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And Vertonghen has backed Mauricio Pochettino's policy of not giving too many players a rest despite the risk of fatigue setting in.

Colbert said that if the team were to franchise tag Bell, it would do so in this way.

Brown, who is entering his final contract season, is scheduled to earn ju $4.7 million in 2017 but counts $13.8 million against the team's salary cap.

Bell, who also is an aspiring rapper, released a mix CD a year ago on which he said he was going to ask for $15 million per season.

Word early on Monday was that the Steelers and wide receiver Antonio Brown were making good progress toward an agreement on a new contract. He'll surpass A.J. Green into that top spot.

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