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Bell, Steelers failed to reach deal on new contract

Mon Jul 16 9:23pm ET
By The Associated Press

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) plays in an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

PITTSBURGH (AP) Le'Veon Bell's next season with the Pittsburgh Steelers will almost certainly be his last.

The Pro Bowl running back and the defending AFC North champions failed to reach an agreement on a new contract by Monday's deadline, meaning he will play under the franchise tag for a second straight year and hit the open market next spring.

Bell tweeted that he ''both sides worked extremely hard'' to try and find common ground but ultimately could not.

Player Notes
James Conner Jul 16 6:10pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner was impressive during spring workouts and could be an every-down back in the league. With Le'Veon Bell playing on the franchise tag for the second straight year and possibly leaving after 2018, the Steelers may need to look to the future, and Conner could step into a lead-back role in 2019. He averaged 4.5 yards per carry on 32 attempts in his rookie year, but he also missed three games with a knee injury.

From RotoBaller

Le'Veon Bell Jul 16 4:30pm ET

After failing to reach a long-term extension ahead of the deadline on Monday, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell's agent, Adisa Bakari, said that 2018 will likely be his client's last with the Steelers. "His intention was to retire as a Steeler," Bakari told ESPN's Adam Schefter. "But now that there's no deal, the practical reality is, this now likely will be Le'Veon's last season as a Steeler." Bell will play the second straight year under the franchise tag and will expectedly hold out of training camp and the preseason. It won't affect his fantasy value going into the year, though, as he's still the best option for the No. 1 overall pick in drafts.

From RotoBaller

Le'Veon Bell Jul 16 3:40pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell is once again expected to play under the franchise tag in 2018 with a long-term deal not expected to happen before the deadline on Monday, according to a source. That means that Bell will hold out of training camp and the preseason for the second straight year, but it's highly unlikely that he misses any regular season games. Despite this news, he remains on the board as the consensus No. 1 overall fantasy pick.

From RotoBaller

Blake Jarwin Jul 16 3:00pm ET

Dallas Cowboys tight end Blake Jarwin made a splash during offseason activities and was regularly targeted by quarterback Dak Prescott up the middle and in red-zone situations. He's second on the depth chart behind expected starter Geoff Swaim, but Swaim's strengths are his blocking. Right now Jarwin is just someone to watch in training camp, but there is certainly opportunity for a fantasy relevant role in Dallas at the position with Jason Witten retired.

From RotoBaller

Lamarcus Joyner Jul 16 3:00pm ET

Los Angeles Rams free safety Lamarcus Joyner isn't expected to receive a long-term extension before the Monday deadline, although the two sides have continued to talk, according to league sources. Joyner already signed his franchise tag and would be scheduled to be a free agent after this year. The 27-year-old was moved to safety last year and had 49 tackles and the first three interceptions of his career. He makes up part of a drastically improved secondary that also includes cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib.

From RotoBaller

Dallas Goedert Jul 16 2:50pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles backup tight end Dallas Goedert dominated at a lower level of college and could be a matchup nightmare in the red zone for the Eagles in his rookie season. Goedert didn't drop a single pass in spring practices and will allow the team to continue using two-tight end sets with Trey Burton gone. He's also shown great route-running skills and is expected to be the No. 2 tight end right off the bat behind Zach Ertz. However, unless Ertz is injured, Goedert probably won't be an option for those in single-year leagues.

From RotoBaller

Christian McCaffrey Jul 16 2:50pm ET

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey isn't expected to see a huge increase in carries with C.J. Anderson in the lead role as the traditional back. After all, McCaffrey had just 3.7 yards per carry on 117 attempts in his rookie season on the ground. Where he'll make up for it, though, is through the air, where he caught 80 pases for 651 yards and five touchdowns. He could see those numbers rise in offensive coordinator Norv Turner's system. Last year's numbers on the ground will likely be McCaffrey's ceiling, but he's obviously still very valuable in point-per-reception leagues.

From RotoBaller

Carson Wentz Jul 16 2:40pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson didn't sound so sure that quarterback Carson Wentz (knee) would be ready to go for Week 1. "I can't say. I don't know now. I can tell you it's not going to be a Doug Pederson decision. It will be a doctors' decision. Carson will have to be 100 percent before he takes the field. I am going to rely totally on my medical staff," Pederson said. Wentz took part in offseason workouts and appears on track, so our guess is he'll be ready, barring any setbacks in training camp. Wentz finished as the third fantasy quarterback last year despite missing three games and had 10 games of at least 20 fantasy points in standard leagues. There's risk in the fact that he won't be 100 percent to start the year, but he's still a QB1.

From RotoBaller

Darren Sproles Jul 16 2:40pm ET

In the opinion of the Philly Voice's Jimmy Kempski, Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles is expected to see his snaps per game decrease in what will be his final season in the NFL. Most of the veteran's contributions are expected to come on special teams as a returner with Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement ahead of him on the depth chart. Sproles has never been a workhorse back in his career and has never carried the ball more than 100 times in a season. He is still versatile, but he'll mainly be used in third-down situations and isn't worth more than a late-round flier in deep PPR leagues.

From RotoBaller

Jay Ajayi Jul 16 2:40pm ET

There is a chance that the Philadelphia Eagles try to get their money's worth from running back Jay Ajayi in 2018 and give him a higher workload than he had last season. Ajayi has just one year left on his rookie deal and could be playing somewhere else in 2019. The former Dolphin was much more productive in Philly last year, rushing for 5.8 yards per carry compared to just 3.4 yards per carry with Miami. Corey Clement and Darren Sproles will figure into the load as well, but Ajayi could be a little underrated if he sees a bigger workload this year.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Rodgers Jul 16 2:30pm ET

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he would love to play until he's 40 years old. "I'd love to play to 40," Rodgers said. "I just think that number means a lot. Obviously, Tom [Brady] is kind of rewriting the book. Brett [Favre] had a good season when he turned 40. My goal is be able to move like I do or close to how I do and still be able to do that at 40 … just because nobody's been able to do that and still move around the same." He has two years left on his five-year, $110 million deal but he is expected to sign a new extension before the start of this year. It could be tough for Rodgers to remain that productive that deep into his career, but we wouldn't put it past him. He remains a strong QB1 choice in 2018.

From RotoBaller

Devin Smith Jul 16 2:20pm ET

The New York Jets released wide receiver Devin Smith, a former second-round pick in 2015, on Monday, according to a source. He suffered two torn ACLs in his knees and hasn't been able to recover since. Smith has just 10 catches for 135 yards and one touchdown in two seasons. He did not play at all in 2017.

From RotoBaller

Le'Veon Bell Jul 16 2:20pm ET

ESPN's Adam Schefter thinks that Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell could sit out half the year if he can't come to an agreement on a contract extension with the team. "The goal at that point would be to hit 2019 free agency healthy, not rack up another 400 touches," Schefter said. We'd be pretty surprised if Bell missed time at all in the regular season, but he will almost certainly sit out all of training camp and the preseason if he's franchise tagged again. Bell is the consensus top overall fantasy pick, but there is a little more risk surrounding him if he doesn't sign an extension by the deadline Monday.

From RotoBaller

Jordan Leggett Jul 16 2:10pm ET

New York Jets tight ends Jordan Leggett and Chris Herndon are expected to battle for the starting job in training camp, but with no standout in the tight end room, both players may split time equally this year. Leggett missed all of last season with a knee injury and Herndon is coming off an injury of his own, so neither are very attractive fantasy options in a Jets offense that has questions at quarterback. Eric Tomlinson is the third tight end, but he's mainly useful for blocking.

From RotoBaller

Keke Coutee Jul 16 2:00pm ET

Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has been impressed with rookie wideout Keke Coutee so far. Coutee was a fourth-round pick this year but will immediately challenge Braxton Miller for slot duties. The young star was a second-team All-Big 12 selection and had 93 catches for 1,429 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2017. "He's only getting better," Hopkins said. "He's always hanging around, seeing what I'm doing in between periods, asking me questions." The Texans also expect Coutee to contribute on special teams as a kick returner. His small stature puts him at risk of injury in the NFL in the middle of the field, and Coutee will likely make more of an impact on special teams initially. It's best to avoid him in redraft leagues.

From RotoBaller

Darren Sproles Jul 16 1:50pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles announced that he will retire after the 2018 season, which will be his 14th in the league. Sproles played in just three games last year before sitting out with arm and knee injuries. He currently sits with 4,656 receiving yards, 3,366 rushing yards, 2,792 punt return yards and 8,350 kickoff return yards. Sproles has excelled with his pass catching out of the backfield, but he turned 35 in June and has Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement ahead of him on the depth chart. He can still operate as a third-down back, which will make him a late-round flier in deeper PPR leagues.

From RotoBaller

Ezekiel Ansah Jul 16 1:40pm ET

Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah is expected to play the 2018 season under the franchise tag, barring a significant turn of events, according to sources. The deadline to sign players to franchise tags is on Monday. Ansah recorded 12 sacks and 44 tackles during the 2017 season, his second season with double-digit sacks in his five seasons in the NFL.

From RotoBaller

Trey Flowers Jul 16 1:40pm ET

Despite becoming a key piece of the New England Patriots defense, defensive end Trey Flowers isn't guaranteed to get a contract extension. He had 6.5 sacks, 45 tackles and two forced fumbles in the regular season last year and another sack and 10 tackles in the playoffs. He's also valuable because of his versatility on the field. The 24-year-old has 13.5 sacks and 107 combined tackles in his two seasons in the NFL and is an underrated player both on the field and in IDP leagues.

From RotoBaller

Le'Veon Bell Jul 16 1:30pm ET

The Pittsburgh Steelers and running back Le'Veon Bell have made some progress in contract talks, but a decision make come down to the wire on Monday. If Bell isn't given a contract extension by Monday, he'll play the 2018 season under the franchise tag once again and he'll hold out all of training camp. Bell did the same thing last season and held out of camp, but he was still one of the best running backs in the league. Regardless of his contract situation or his holdout, Bell should once again be in consideration for the top overall choice in fantasy drafts.

From RotoBaller

Le'Veon Bell Jul 16 11:57am ET

Le'Veon Bell and the Steelers have not reached an agreement on a long term deal just yet. ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter speculated on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he believes it is possible Bell sits out the first half of the coming year if he doesn't get a long term deal done. Stay tuned.