The Pittsburgh Steelers seem dead set on getting their in-house contracts taken care of as quickly as possible, Shortly after coming to an agreement on a four-year extension with wide receiver Antonio Brown, the Steelers chose to use their exclusive Franchise Tag on free agent running back Leveon Bell.

It almost seems strange since Brown still had a year of the contract, but the Steelers found a way to wrap up Brown and keep Bell around for a little while longer.

The LeVeon Bell franchise tag

For those who don't know, the franchise tag is a way that teams can hold onto their top free agent without actually offering them a new contract. In this case, that was running back LeVeon Bell for the Steelers. To keep him, they will now have to pay him the franchise tender for running back.

Because this is the exclusive franchise tag, it means that Bell can't negotiate with any other NFL team but Pittsburgh. They have until July 15 at 4 p.m. EST to come to a long-term contract, or they have to pay the tender, which is estimated to be around $12.2 million.

The worth to the Pittsburgh Steelers

There is no doubting how valuable that LeVeon Bell is to the Pittsburgh Steelers. At the age of 25, Bell averaged 157 yards per game when combining rushing and receiving. Only two running backs in NFL history have ever surpassed that mark. Bell also broke Franco Harris' Steelers' records for most yards in a regular season and playoff game.

Since 2013, LeVeon Bell ranks first in touches and scrimmage yards per game of all players in the NFL.

The warning signs of LeVeon Bell

Despite his high level of play, there are also warning signs for NFL teams considering LeVeon Bell. For one thing, he has touched the ball 24.2 times per game on average since 2013, and his body can't take that beating much longer. He will slow down, and it will come soon.

Another problem is that the NFL suspended Bell twice for drug-related reasons. A third suspension could cost him an entire season.

He also missed ten games in 2015 and four in 2016. His last three seasons ended early due to an injury, this year in the playoffs. LeVeon Bell will want a big payday, but with the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise tag, he will have to wait for a long-term deal.

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