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Le’Veon Bell’s Agent Reportedly Didn’t Know He Was Eligible For QB Franchise Tag in 2019

As the Steelers prepare to take on the Panthers for Thursday Night Football, the Le’Veon Bell holdout story is becoming a bit trickier.

According to Maurice Jones-Drew, Bell’s agent, Adisa Bakari, has had to “really sit down and figure out [the language].” Apparently, Bakari was not initially aware that the running back could be eligible for the quarterback franchise tender next season despite sitting out the full 2018 season.

Jones-Drew, who is also represented by Bakari, provided more detail during The Dave Dameshek Football Program podcast:

“So what happened was that once that came out, that they’re now digging and reading … trying to understand the language, because there’s a lot of language in the CBA, especially for this particular instance.”

Language appears to be the same in the most recent CBA as the previous one when it comes to said circumstance.

From Article 10, Section 15(c) of the 2011 CBA: “If any Franchise Player does not play in the NFL in a League Year, his Prior Team shall have the right to designate such player as a Franchise Player or a Transition Player the following League Year, if such designation is otherwise available to the Team, except that the applicable Tender must be made and any 120% Tender shall be measured from the Player’s Prior Year Salary.”

From Article XX, Section 17(a) of the 2006 CBA: “If a Franchise Player does not play in the NFL in a League Year, his Prior Team shall have the right to designate such player as a Franchise Player or a Transition Player the following League Year, if such designation is otherwise available to the Team, except that the applicable tender must be made and any 120% tender shall be measured from the Player’s prior year salary.”

The fact that this information has been leaked to Jones-Drew, a league employee, brings into question the Steelers’ motives. By acknowledging that Bell could qualify for the quarterback tender while not reporting at all this season, the league has conceded, in a way, that the player actually has the upper hand.

We watch and wait…

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