Steelers Could Tag Le'Veon Bell At QB Number In 2019

4 Steelers who must step up against the Panthers

4 Steelers who must step up against the Panthers

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell is not expected to report by the team's Thursday night game against the Carolina Panthers in Week 10. There have mixed reports dating back to the preseason on when Bell would report to the team, with an expectation he would return to the team during their Week 7 bye.

The collective bargaining agreement mandates that any player on a contract or on a tender must report by the Tuesday after the 10th week of the season if he wants to play that year. That makes sense and would seemingly be the player's only incentive to show up, but there is now some disagreement about whether that is actually the case.

Bell would surrender the final $6.84 million of his salary if he elects not to sign the franchise tender.

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Bell has been in Miami working out this season but did leave Monday to head to Pittsburgh. The good news for the Steelers is they are playing at home for this short week matchup, which plays in their favor.

Pro Football Talk has been reporting that the Steelers could franchise tag Bell again this offseason for the second time if he doesn't report by November 13 at the same salary number of around $14.5 million, as the 2018 franchise tag would not count as one of the three the team can use on Bell. But Bell would still be free to test the market under the transition tag, and even if the Steelers matched any external offers, he'd still get the long-term deal he's wanted all along.

Bell does not have to report to the Steelers by a certain date to get an accrued season to become eligible for free agency, contrary to what ESPN and others previously reported.

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