If Bell continues to insist he won't play under the franchise tag, the Steelers will have a tough decision to make.
Bell a First Team All-Pro in 2017, played on a $12.1 million frachise tag and would receive a $14.5 million tag if Pittsburgh designates him next season.
Past year the Steelers tagged Bell and failed to work out long term contract extension with him prior to the offseason National Football League deadline to do so.
The running back told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler Thursday that he would consider sitting out the 2018 season or retiring from football entirely if the team attempts to use its franchise player designation on him again next season. "I can care less about what happens after this season...my biggest thing I'm focused on is this team I'm on right now, playing for/with my brothers, & bringing back a 7th ring! what happens next year is irrelevant to my goals".
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It's "have boots, will travel" now, isn't it? He added: "If it's possible to be over the line I'd be delighted". It's a permanent deal we're hoping to negotiate'. "I don't get optimistic otherwise I get disappointed".
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Le'Veon Bell wants to get paid and get paid handsomely.
In speaking to ESPN, Bell said, "I hope it doesn't come to that, but I would definitely consider it". "I'm not going out here getting the ball 400 times if I'm not getting what I feel I'm valued at". But it's also probably fair to say Pittsburgh won't be this good-winning 13 games and finishing second in the AFC-so 2017 may arguably be the Steelers' last best chance to win a Super Bowl with their current core group of stars. "They tag me again, it will be me [saying], 'OK, do I want to play on the tag or do I not want to play on the tag?' That's what it comes down to".
Bell told Fowler if he sits out the 2018 season, he is unlikely to return. At this point, it's hard to imagine the Steelers being able to work out a, long term contract extension with Bell at any point during the offseason. He's as unsafe a runner as he is a pass catcher and he wants to be compensated as such.
"I don't necessarily care about the money aspect of it", explains Bell. "I'm in a position where I can do that, and I'm going to do it". But he doesn't have any intention of staying if he doesn't get the kind of long-term deal he feels he deserves.