To play under franchise tag this season

To play under franchise tag this season

Speaking on NFL Network, Rapoport expounded on what Bell was looking for in a long-term deal. Our models project him for 1,390 rushing yards and 9.99 touchdowns on 295 carries, adding 85 catches for 713 receiving yards and 3.46 scores.

"Unfortunately, we were unable to agree to terms on a long-term contract with Le'Veon Bell prior to today's deadline", general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement. Bell returns to the lineup for the Steelers on Sunday against Kansas City. "Le'Veon is scheduled to play this year under the Exclusive Franchise Tag designation".

As of Monday's extension deadline, Bell had also not signed his franchise tender.

The Steelers could franchise Bell again in 2018, which would guarantee him no less than $14.5 million in guaranteed base salary. Villanueva's situation is very different than Tuitt's when it comes to leverage, however, because the Steelers can easily retain the former undrafted free agent after the 2017 season is over with a second-round restricted tender. The hefty franchise tag, Bell's historic production and his 16 missed games for suspensions or injuries over the last three years gave both sides much to sort out this summer.

According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com, Bell is recovered from offseason core muscle surgery, and should be ready to participate from the start of camp. The Steelers begin camp July 27 in Latrobe.

The Steelers have just hours left to sign their franchise player, Le'Veon Bell, to a new contract.

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