The Steelers weren't expected to let running back Le'Veon Bell hit the open market when the new league year gets underway next month so it comes as no surprise that he's the latest player to receive a franchise tag.
In terms of the long-term deal potential with the Steelers and Bell, it could be more financially responsible for them to franchise tag him the next two seasons than meet his demands.
Le'Veon Bell was given the exclusive franchise tag. Same number as non-exclusive tag.
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will be the highest-paid running back this year at $14 million.
He can become a free agent following the 2017 season, but both Brown and the Steelers have expressed interest in striking a long-term deal. This is a team that has a culture of winning and a great business approach, so it stands to reason that they will find a way to keep Bell happy while also sticking to their principles.
Injuries have ended Bell's last three seasons prematurely, including a groin injury suffered during the 36-17 AFC title game loss to the New England Patriots.
Bell, 25, rushed for 1,268 yards and caught 75 passes for 616 yards in 12 games during the 2016 season and was the team's 2016 MVP. According to a report from Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Steelers and Brown's reps are making significant progress toward a big money extension.