Le’Veon Bell will return to the Steelers after the week 7 bye after sitting out due to being unhappy with his contract negotiations with the team according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
The Steelers decided to franchise tag Bell for two years in a row, but Bell wanted a long-term contract that he thought matched his value. As a result, Bell has not reported to the Steelers yet this season and they now sit with a 1-2-1 record.
In his absence, James Conner has rushed 232 yards and three touchdowns. Conner has added 164 receiving yards. He is averaging 3.7 yards per carry, but is only averaging 10.7 carries over the last few weeks.
There will be ramifications for Bell showing up after missing six games.
Should he sign the franchise tag Week 7, Le’Veon Bell will stand to earn at least $9.4M of his original $14.544M in 2018. Though the #Steelers do have the option to negotiate an increase in his pay for this year.https://t.co/Vx5Yiyin9o
— Spotrac (@spotrac) October 1, 2018
This will also give the Steelers the option to use the transition tag on Bell, which will limit what he can make next season.
Now if Pittsburgh decides to use its transition tag on Le’Veon Bell after this season, it would cost $11.3 million – less than the franchise tag put on him for this year. https://t.co/RvSL0cA2TB
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 1, 2018
By signing with the Steelers before week 11, Bell will retain his free agent status for this offseason, which will allow him to test the open market.
Bell has amassed 5,336 rushing yards, 2,660 receiving yards and 42 touchdowns in his five NFL seasons so far.