Steelers place franchise tag on Le’Veon Bell for 2nd time

In this Dec. 25, 2016, file photo, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) leaps into the end zone ahead of Baltimore Ravens strong safety Eric Weddle (32) for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh. (AP)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers have put the franchise tag on All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell for a second straight spring, putting his long-term status with the club up in the air.

Bell, a three-time Pro Bowler, accounted for 1,946 total yards and 11 touchdowns for the AFC North champions in 2017. Both Bell and Steelers management said after the season they hoped to get a contract extension done quickly, but failed to do so by Tuesday’s deadline for teams to use the franchise tag.

Bell is scheduled to make $14.54 million in 2018 if he signs the franchise tender and the two sides are unable to reach an agreement on a new deal by the 2018 opener. He opted to skip offseason workouts and training camp last summer before signing the tender on the eve of the regular season.