The Pittsburgh Steelers may be pushing their luck if they try to get cheap with star running back Le’Veon Bell again.
Ahead of their divisional playoff game against the Jaguars, reporters asked Bell about his contract status and whether the team would attempt to place the franchise tag on him again. The 25-year-old didn’t mince words.
“I hope it doesn’t come to that, but I would definitely consider [sitting out a year or retiring],” Bell said according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.
Bell was paid $12.1 million in 2017 when he accepted the franchise tag last year. If we was to accept it again for the 2018 season, he would be paid $14.5 million. If the Steelers don’t use the tag, he’s an unrestricted free agent. A player as dynamic as Bell would likely receive a variety of hefty contract offers. The highest paid running back in the NFL is Atlanta’s Devonta Freeman, who signed a five-year $41.25 million extension in 2017.
Bell knows his worth, and expects the Steelers to play ball.
“Just get the numbers straight, exactly where we want them. I’m not going to settle for anything,” Bell said. “I know what I do and what I bring to the table. I’m not going out here getting the ball 400 times if I’m not getting what I feel I’m valued at.”
“I don’t necessarily care about the money aspect of it. I just want to be valued where I’m at. If I am playing this game, I want to set standards for all the other running backs behind me, like Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott, Melvin Gordon, guys like that,” Bell added. “I’m a guy they can kind of look at. I feel I can do that. I’m in a position where I can do that, and I’m going to do it.”
Bell racked up 1,291 rushing yards and nine touchdowns in 2017, to go along with another 655 receiving yards and two more TDs catching the ball. He’s one of the best duel-threat players the NFL has ever seen.
After making his original comments, Bell walked them back a tiny bit. He tweeted out on Thursday that he’s focused on the upcoming playoff games and trying to win a Super Bowl.
I’m trying to win a super bowl…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
— Le'Veon Bell (@L_Bell26) January 11, 2018