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Steelers place franchise tag on running back Le'Veon Bell

The tag will keep Bell off the free agent market, which begins March 9th, and allow the Steelers to attempt to sign him for longer than one year.

"I can say, unequivocally, that we want Antonio to retire as a Steeler, just like we want Le'Veon [Bell] to retire as a Steeler", general manager Kevin Colbert said on February 16.

According to a Monday afternoon report from Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Pittsburgh Steelers have placed their franchise tag on running back Le'Veon Bell.

Colbert said that if the team were to franchise tag Bell, it would do so in this way. As it stands, he remains bound to the Steelers, either at a one-year contract in excess of $12 million or a long-term deal, if one can be negotiated by July 15.

More news: Trump asks NASA to explore putting astronauts on rocket's debut flight

The Steelers have locked up Le'Veon Bell for the year. Bell has been suspended twice during his rookie contract, and another slip up will have him miss at least another quarter of the season. If not, he will make the average salary of the top five running backs in the league in 2017.

But for the third consecutive season, Bell ended the season with injury. He also set postseason single-game rushing records in the first two round of the playoffs and caught 75 passes for 616 yards.

Minnesota's Adrian Peterson is now the highest-paid running back in the league. When asked about that statement, he backed away from it.

Bell earned just under $1 million in salary last season with a cap number of $1.13 million.

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