The deadline came and went Monday for any player who had received the franchise tag for 2018 to get a long-term deal done before the season, meaning anything but signing a one-year deal -- for this year -- is impossible until the end of the 2018 regular season. There were multiple players who had been tagged but didn't get a deal, and one was Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell.
Bell's situation itself doesn't really make a difference to the Cardinals on the field. The Cards don't play the Steelers this season, and they are an AFC team so they are not competition for a playoff spot. How Bell deals with this -- and how much time he could potentially miss if he decides not to sign the tender -- won't impact Steve Wilks' first season. (Bell is scheduled to make $14.5 million this season once he signs the contract, a yearly salary he would not be expected to receive over a long-term deal.)
The one connection this does have, however, is that Bell will, after all this, not set any kind of market for upper-tier running backs. Had he come to a deal, perhaps that would have provided some extra framework for discussions between the Cardinals and running back David Johnson, who himself is looking for a long-term extension.
Bell and Johnson are not completely parallel. Bell played under the franchise tag in 2017 already. Johnson is heading into the final year of his rookie contract. Bell, because he is unsigned, faces no repercussions if he does not come to training camp because, again, he isn't under contract. Johnson, who declined to attend mandatory minicamp this summer as he sought an extension, is in a tougher spot if he were to decide to not come to camp at first. Part of it strictly has to do with the collective bargaining agreement -- Johnson has to report to camp no later than Aug. 7, or he would not be credited with an accrued season in 2018, which would mean he would be a restricted instead of unrestricted free agent at the end of 2018.
General Manager Steve Keim has already said Johnson is a member of the team's core and the team wants to work on an extension. Nothing has changed there. It's just that a new Bell deal might've helped.