NFL: Steelers retain Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell
By Associated Press
Feb 28, 2017 | 12:05 AM
The Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday signed wide receiver Antonio Brown to a new five-year contract and placed an exclusive-rights franchise tag on running back Le'Veon Bell, taking steps toward fulfilling a promise to make the star players vital parts of the organization "for life."
Brown's new contract runs through 2021 and will pay him more than $72 million, making him one of the highest-paid non-quarterbacks in the league. Brown, 28, is one of only two players in NFL history to catch at least 100 passes in four consecutive seasons, last year catching 106 for 1,284 yards and 12 touchdowns in helping the Steelers win the AFC North title and make it all the way to the AFC championship game before falling to the New England Patriots.
Bell, who could have become a free agent next month, will work with the Steelers on a long-term agreement before the July 15 cutoff. If the club can't sign him to a new deal by that date, he will make the average salary of the top five running backs in the league in 2017.
Bell, 25, led the NFL in average yards from scrimmage last season and was the first player in NFL history to average at least 100 yards rushing and 50 yards receiving per game.
The Arizona Cardinals, in an anticipated move, placed a nonexclusive franchise tag on Chandler Jones after failing to reach a long-term deal with the outside linebacker. The nonexclusive tag allows the Cardinals to continue negotiating with Jones through July 15. If another team makes him an offer, Arizona can either match it or receive two first-round draft picks. ...