News: Bell was unable to reach a contract agreement with the Steelers before Monday's 4 p.m. EDT deadline for players that received a franchise tag, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
Impact: Bell is thus slated to play under the franchise tag for a second straight year, with his $14.54 million cap number easily leading all running backs. He waited until the end of the preseason to sign his tender last year, reporting to the Steelers just nine days before their season opener. The 26-year-old dropped hints that he would follow a similar path in 2018 if he didn't get a long-term deal, but there hasn't been anything definitive regarding his plans. Bell technically can wait until Week 11 to sign the tag and still be eligible for free agency next offseason, but he would miss out on more than $850,000 each week he sits outs. For what it's worth, he posted Monday on his personal Twitter account that 2018 will be his best season to date, a hint that he doesn't plan to extend a holdout into the regular season. The Steelers have every incentive to give him a huge workload once he shows up, as Bell's agent said Monday that this likely will be the running back's final season in Pittsburgh, per Adam Schefter of ESPN. A third franchise tag would cost approximately $21 million, and it's evident the Steelers have no intention of paying Bell at his open-market value on a multi-year deal.