Friday, 17 August, 2018

Le'Veon Bell Considering Retirement or Sitting Out 2018 if Franchise Tagged

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell USA TODAY Sports
Kristopher Love | 12 January, 2018, 16:43

Bell, 25, is playing under the $12.1 million franchise tag tender he signed this past summer. The Steelers have the ability to tag Bell once again this offseason, but that is not something the running back would be on board with.

Bell told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler on Thursday that he would consider sitting out the 2018 season or even retiring altogether if the Steelers used the franchise tag on him once again.

But that's exactly what they have following Le'Veon Bell's comments Thursday about his future with the team.

"[I want them to] value me", Bell told ESPN. "I'm not going out here getting the ball 400 times if I'm not getting what I feel I'm valued at". The Steelers star running back said he won't do it again.

Bell is one of the league's most dynamic players. "If I was a free agent and they let me go, be a free agent, then yeah, I'm going to go explore free agency, test the market". He was slated to hit the open market past year before the Steelers placed the franchise tag on him, fearful he would sign elsewhere. Bell is willing to hold out much longer than that - but for now his focus remains on one thing: Bringing another Lombardi Trophy to Pittsburgh. In any case, Bell's next contract is not something that will be settled in short order, with the Steelers preparing for Sunday's divisional-round playoff game against the Jaguars. He's as unsafe a runner as he is a pass catcher and he wants to be compensated as such. "I just want to be valued where I'm at", per ESPN. I feel I can do that.

"I don't necessarily care about the money aspect of it".

If there's a silver lining for the Steelers, it's that Bell doesn't appear eager to leave Pittsburgh.

"I've made a lot of money, I'm happy where I'm at, I've got a good family - I don't really need to play football", said Bell, who has made around $16 million for his career.

"I want to be here, finish my career here", Bell said. Ideally, Bell could get that aforementioned long-term deal. It's an unlikely scenario, but Bell is keeping his options open, as he should.