With the NFL’s franchise-tag deadline set for Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to let their star tailback cash in a bit early. On Monday, the team placed its franchise tagged on Le’Veon Bell, and it’s worth around $12.2 million.
Steelers have placed franchise tag on RB Le'Veon Bell, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 27, 2017
Before the Steelers chose to stop the Columbus, Ohio native from heading into free agency, Bell was still receiving checks via his rookie contract, which handed him just $1.19 million last season. Nevertheless, he earned himself a much larger payday with a massive 2016-17 campaign, collecting the fifth-most rushing yards in the league (1,268).
Moreover, the 6-foot-1, 225-pound running back posted 357 rushing yards during the NFL playoffs, good for the most among his peers. He’s also the first player at his position to be tagged since Matt Forte (Chicago Bears) and Ray Rice (Baltimore Ravens) were in 2012.
During his days in East Lansing, Mich., Bell was just as explosive, especially as a junior. That season, he posted 1,793 yards on the ground, along with 13 total touchdowns.