Agent denies report that Le’Veon Bell agreed to, then backed out of long-term contract with Steelers
Le’Veon Bell’s agent denied a report Friday that he and the Pittsburgh Steelers had agreed on a lucrative contract for the Pro Bowl running back last month.
Earlier in the day, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the team and agent had come to an agreement on a five-year deal on the afternoon of July 17, which was the deadline for Bell and other players who received the franchise tag designation from their teams to come to terms on multiyear contracts.
According to the same report, however, Bell pulled the plug on the deal at the last minute, even though it was reportedly worth more than $12 million annually and would have paid him more than $30 million in the first two years.
But Bell’s agent, Adisa Bakari, said the reported long-term agreement with the Steelers never happened.
“All stories to contrary are false,” he said, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Either way, Bell is still not under contract at this point. If he is to play in 2017, he must now do so under the one-year, $12.12-million franchise tag the Steelers placed on him in March. He has yet to sign that contract and missed all of the team’s training camp.
Bell is set to become an unrestricted agent in 2018, although the Steelers will have the option to place a one-year, $14.54-million franchise tag on him then. The Post-Gazette reported that Bell is seeking a contract that pays him $15 million a year.
The highest-paid running back in the NFL right now is the Atlanta Falcons’ Devonta Freeman, who makes an average of $8.25 million a year.
Bell rushed for 1,268 yards and seven touchdowns, with 75 receptions for 616 yards and two touchdowns, in 12 games last season.
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