The franchise tag allows NFL teams to maintain the rights to a player who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent. The tag usually comes with an expensive one-year tender for the player, but players have mixed feelings about being tagged. Many times the franchise tag hampers players’ ability to sign a long-term deal and can lead to holdouts, when a player refuses to take part in training camp until they have a deal more to their liking.

Steelers tag Bell; others around NFL also tagged

The Pittsburgh Steelers let everyone know they have no intention of letting star running back Le’Veon Bell hit the open market.

The Steelers placed an exclusive franchise tag on Bell, meaning no team other than the Steelers can even make an offer to the unrestricted free agent.

There are versions of the franchise tag that allow unrestricted free agents to seek deals with other teams that could result in compensation coming back to the player’s previous team in the form of draft picks. However, the Steelers' move with Bell ensures he won’t be able to sign an offer sheet with a new squad.

By franchising Bell, the Steelers would likely be on the hook for a one-year deal with him at a value well north of $10 million. ESPN reports the sides have until July 15th at 4 p.m. ET to agree to a long-term contract. If no deal is reached, Bell would have to play the 2017 season under the franchise tender terms of the one-year deal.

The money for the one-year deal is huge, but it comes at a cost if nothing else can be agreed upon. Bell would feel more protected by a lengthier contract, including a large signing bonus up front, as it frees him from concern that an injury in 2017 will reduce his value around the league going forward.

Cardinals, Panthers also make use of NFL’s franchise tag

Around the league, as of Monday afternoon, the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers also franchise tagged players. The Cardinals slapped the non-exclusive franchise tag on linebacker Chandler Jones, while the Panthers used the same version of the tag on defensive tackle Kawann Short.

The non-exclusive franchise tag allows the NFL players to sign an offer sheet with other teams. If their current squad doesn’t match the offer, the team will receive two first-round draft choices as compensation from the player’s new team.

More franchise tags are expected to be announced over the next two days. The deadline to place the tag on a player is Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.

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