Ex-Spartans Cousins, Bell to play on franchise tag
A pair of former Michigan State stars, Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins and Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell, will play for the franchise tag this season.
It’s the second consecutive season Cousins will play on the franchise tag after he failed to agree on a long-term deal with the team by Monday’s 4 p.m. deadline.
The team confirmed there was no agreement. Cousins, 28, will make $23.94 million on the franchise tag in 2017 after earning $19.95 million last year.
Pittsburgh placed the franchise tag on Bell in March. Bell will make $12.1 million this season, the average of the five highest-paid running backs in the league.
Bell could become an unrestricted free agent next spring or the Steelers could place the franchise tag on him a second time. General manager Kevin Colbert says the team will “resume its efforts” to re-sign Bell next offseason.
Cousins is going into his third full season as Washington’s starter. He set franchise records with 4,166 and 4,917 yards the past two seasons.
Bell, 25, ran for 1,268 yards and seven touchdowns and caught another 75 passes in 12 games for Pittsburgh in 2016.