We thought Le'Veon Bell would play on his franchise tender without incident this year with the hope of landing a mega-deal next offseason. We thought wrong. Bell held out from the start of Steelers training camp and could sit for "several weeks" according to an NFL Network report. The track record of running backs who hold out of training camp is not very good since they're not getting in game shape in front of their coaches and trainers or getting in rhythm with their teammates. It's pretty frustrating news since Bell is considered one of Fantasy's most reliable assets -- he's been good for 10-plus Fantasy points in an unbelievable 85.3 percent of his games over the past three seasons! If he shows up for training camp by mid-August, then everything should be cool. If not, Fantasy owners could get nervous about taking him No. 1 overall, even though he's recovered from offseason core muscle surgery and faces a favorable slate of run defenses in 2017. If you take Bell, be sure to also grab James Conner, his presumed backup, with a pick in Round 11 or 12 just in case of emergency.
Bell was close to agreement on a long-term contract prior to last month's deadline for franchise-tag players to sign extensions, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reports. Bell was reportedly on the verge of a five-year contract worth over $12 million annually, but the deadline obviously passed without him signing, thus forcing the Steelers and his representatives to have to revisit negotiations after this season. While Bell is believed to be holding out for a salary of $15 million in any extension, the tailback still hasn't inked his $12.1 million tender for this season, allowing him to remain away from the team to this point without penalty. It remains to be seen when Bell will sign his contract, but fantasy owners should be relieved by his stated intention to play a full campaign, meaning he'll be back in the fold sometime before Week 1.
Bell (groin), who has yet to sign his $12.12 million franchise tender with the Steelers, is slated to report to the team in advance of Week 1, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. While it's unclear exactly when that will happen, this nugget solidifies that the star running back's contract issue won't linger into the regular season. With Ezekiel Elliott facing a six-game suspension, Bell and David Johnson currently combine to occupy the top tier of fantasy running back rankings. Given that veteran rusher DeAngelo Williams was not re-signed by the Steelers, James Conner, Fitzgerald Toussaint and Knile Davis are currently battling for slotting on the team's backfield depth chart behind Bell, who last played a full slate of games in 2014.
Bell (groin) will work with a footwork specialist in Florida until the middle of next week, ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler reports. It's hard to imagine Bell's footwork being any more impressive, but he's at least staying proactive during his absence from training camp, although the Pittsburgh coaching staff and players have made it clear they'd prefer to have him with the team. While he could theoretically wait until the end of the preseason to sign his franchise tender and still suit up for Pittsburgh's opener, Bell may want to come back a bit sooner to get in at least a couple weeks of live practice and maybe a brief preseason appearance to tune up for Week 1. There doesn't seem to be much concern regarding the groin surgery he had in March, though it does add yet another chapter to his lengthy injury history.
Bell (groin) and the Steelers were unable to agree to a long-term contract prior to Monday's 4:00 p.m. EDT deadline, meaning he'll play this season under the $12.1 million franchise tag, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Bell will be the NFL's highest-paid running back this year, but considering he hasn't signed his tender yet, he's not required to report for the start of training camp next week. Whether he does so remains to be seen, but without an extension in place, he'll become a free agent following the upcoming campaign. While that provides the 25-year-old with plenty of incentive to continue racking up huge numbers, it also puts some pressure on Bell to remain healthy. In the wake of a couple of knee injuries through his first four seasons, Bell underwent surgery in March to address a groin issue, but is expected to be ready to roll for Week 1.
Bell (groin) has until 4:00 p.m. EDT on Monday to secure a long-term contract with the Steelers, but an agreement isn't considered imminent, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. Bell and the Steelers are likely to be in negotiations up to the bitter end of the deadline, but if he's unable to reach an agreement, he'll play the upcoming campaign under the franchise tag. That designation would guarantee Bell $12.12 million this season, but would leave both him and Pittsburgh to go through the same song and dance next offseason. After a few injury concerns through his first four years in the league, including a groin issue that Bell is aiming to overcome heading into training camp, long-term financial security is likely of paramount significance for the 25-year-old.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|6||10/15||@Kansas City Chiefs||17||17.59|
|12||11/27||Green Bay Packers||11||15.42|
|15||12/17||New England Patriots||9||15.26|
|3 Year Avg||221||1062||6||61||535||2||207|