A former National Football League running back has alleged that Adisa Bakari, the agent for Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell, didn't understand until recently that Bell could receive a franchise-tag tender in excess of $25 million in 2019 even if he does not report this season. Meanwhile, his teammates continue to express their frustration with the situation, with one unidentified player saying, "This Le'Veon thing is just a cloud over us at this point".
"If he doesn't want to play for $14.5 million, why would he want to play for $5 million?" the source told ESPN, referring to the prorated balance remaining on Bell's $14.5 million franchise tender.
Mark Kaboly of The Athletic reports there's a "real possibility" Bell will simply let next Tuesday's deadline to sign the franchise tag pass and sit out the season.
The star running back announced he left Miami earlier this week - a sign many took as his eventual return to Pittsburgh.
"The new information to Bell's camp has them weighing their options as the deadline approaches", according to The Athletic.
As mentioned, Bell is now in Pittsburgh and he was spotted playing pickup hoops at an L.A. Fitness in North Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. If Bell misses the Steelers game on Thursday, which is nearly certain, he'll have lost out on $8.55 million in salary for the 2018 season. He can become a free agent in 2019 if the Steelers do not place a third tag on him.
If he plays games this year, the Steelers could try to prove Bell's transition tag should be prorated.
"Just about everybody has an opinion on my life & anxious about what I'm doing", Bell wrote. & that's clearly on them. I'm not apologizing for what I believe is right for myself, family, and rest of my peers, period.
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