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Doesn't want to play under franchise tag in 2018

13 January 2018, 12:51 | Joan Schultz

Doesn't want to play under franchise tag in 2018

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell plays in an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Pittsburgh. The running back is fresh heading into Sunday's playoff game against J

Le'Veon Bell would consider sitting out the 2018 season if he's franchise tagged again, he said in ESPN report.

Bell is making $12.1 million this season after the Steelers designated him with the franchise tag in the offseason.

Bell took a career-high 321 carries during the 2017 campaign, and he had 1,291 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns on the ground for the Steelers.

The timing of those comments wasn't exactly great as the Steelers are preparing to face the Jaguars in a divisional-round playoff game on Sunday, but Bell walked them back shortly afterwards via Twitter. It's a contest in which Bell, who was rested in Week 17, will once again head Pittsburgh's ground game, and that's his (and the team's) current focus. He said he simply wants to be valued by the franchise and given a contract worth his talent.

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They certainly can do other things to alleviate that issue, such as restructuring Ben Roethlisberger's contract (he's now at $23.2 million vs. the cap in what will be his age-36 season) or releasing a few veterans. As far as Roethlisberger, the two-time Super Bowl champion said on Wednesday that he is not even thinking about the possibility that the game against the Jaguars could be his last game at Heinz Field.

The NFL has seen a spike in recent years of players being hit with the franchise tag multiple years in a row. Bell said he would consider retiring, and if he did sit out a year, there likely wouldn't be a comeback in his future.

"We understand we have a great group here", said Bell, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. Bell is demanding the Steelers "value me" this coming offseason. "I know what I do and what I bring to the table". Teams can tag a player between February 20 and March 6, after which they would have until July 16 to work out a long-term deal. "I'm not going out here getting the ball 400 times if I'm not getting what I feel I'm valued at". Perhaps it was his way of trying to show how committed he is to wanting to stay in Pittsburgh for the long-haul and win it all this year. It sounds picky, but saying "I can/could care less" implies that it's something you really care about.



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