Bell (groin) underwent surgery Monday to repair a core muscle injury, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports. Bell was previously anticipated to avoid going under the knife, but nearly two months after a groin injury kept him sidelined for the majority of Pittsburgh's AFC championship loss, surgery was ultimately deemed the best course of action to help him long term. While Bell, who has missed 20 of 70 possible games since entering the league, will now be forced to come back from another injury, the procedure's six-week timetable doesn't figure to keep him out of action very long. After receiving the Steelers' franchise tag two weeks ago, July 15 also represents a target date for Bell, as he has until then to reach a multi-year extension with the team.
Bell (groin) and the Steelers are deep into negotiations over a long-term contract, NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala reports. Bell received Pittsburgh's franchise tag to start this week, giving his representatives and the Steelers until July 15 to reach agreement on a long-term deal. However, after inking wideout Antonio Brown to a new five-year contract Monday, it appears the Steelers are already close to cementing Bell's future with the team as well. While it's unclear exactly when to expect Bell's deal to be finalized, the report seems to suggest that news could come sooner than later.
Bell (groin) received the franchise tag from the Steelers on Monday, Adam Schefter ESPN reports. By placing the franchise tag on Bell the Steelers have secured his place with the team through at least the 2017 season. It remains unclear if Bell will sign the franchise tag, which will guarantee him roughly $12 million for the year, or if he'll hold out for a multi-year extension. When healthy, Bell has been one of the best backs in the NFL. He totaled 1,268 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 261 carries in 2016, and he added an additional 616 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 75 catches, all while appearing in just 12 regular season games. However, he's missed time in the past due to multiple suspensions, knee injuries, and his current groin injury, which could make the Steelers hesitant to agree to a high-priced, long-term extension.
Bell (groin) isn't expected to undergo groin surgery this offseason, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. Per Rapoport, a procedure would have been performed at this point, if specialists deemed it crucial to Bell's long-term health. Instead, Bell will focus on rehabilitating the groin injury that forced him to sit out all but 11 of the Steelers' 69 offensive snaps in the AFC championship game. In the coming days, the organization must choose whether to apply its franchise tag to Bell by March 1, work out a long-term deal by March 9, or risk losing him as an unrestricted free agent after 4 PM ET on the latter date. The 25-year-old has recorded at least 1,800 total yards, 75 receptions, and nine touchdowns in two of the last three seasons, but multiple suspensions and ailments have wiped away 20 of a possible 70 games in his four-year career, so the front office may be reticent to allocate significant money to the All-Pro.
Bell's groin was bothering him prior to Sunday's game against the Patriots, when he was forced into an early exit after aggravating the ailment further, Barry Wilner of The Associated Press reports. Bell admitted after Sunday's defeat that he'd been internally micromanaging his injury in the buildup to Pittsburgh's AFC championship appearance, when he thought he'd be able to play through the discomfort he'd been experiencing. However, after his groin problem was aggravated by a tackle he took early on, Bell estimated he was about 50 percent healthy, resulting in him removing himself from the contest after be handed just six carries. With the Steelers' season now over, Bell should have plenty of time to return to full health this offseason, but his revelation that his groin was an issue prior to Sunday at least provides some extra context regarding his early exit.
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