Steelers don't reach long-term deal with Le'Veon Bell


Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell has recovered from offseason core muscle surgery, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reports.

Bell will play under the exclusive franchise tag worth $12.12 million in 2017.

Bell has not yet signed his franchise tender. In the wake of a couple of knee injuries through his first four seasons, Bell underwent surgery in March to fix a groin problem. And while he's expected to do so, he's under no obligation to attend training camp in the mean time. The two sides had until today at 4 reach a long-term deal. According to Rapoport, Pittsburgh made a "very lucrative, good-faith offer" to Bell that would have paid him more than $12 million per season. The Steelers historically structure deals with little guaranteed beyond the first year.

Bell had the leverage to surpass LeSean McCoy's five-year, $40 million deal with the Buffalo Bills. The 25-year-old rusher is the best dual-threat back in the NFL.

NFL Network ranked Bell the No. 9 overall player in its 2017 rankings. Bell's patient, pause-at-the-line running style has become his trademark and has caught the attention of many tailback peers around the league.