Bell might not play next season if Steelers put franchise tag on him again
Le'Veon Bell is prepared to pull out all the stops with the Pittsburgh Steelers to make sure he is not franchise tagged again, even if it means not playing in the NFL.
The three-time Pro-Bowl running back is seeking a long-term contract with Pittsburgh, but said if the Steelers opt to use the franchise tag on him for a consecutive season, the 25-year-old will think about sitting out or even retiring.
"I hope it doesn't come to that, but I would definitely consider it," Bell told ESPN on Thursday as the Steelers prepare to face the Jacksonville Jaguars in the playoffs on Sunday.
Last year, Bell turned down a contract estimated to be worth $30million in the first two years because he felt the Steelers were not giving him his worth.
As a result, Bell was tagged in 2017 for $12.1m. He said he simply wants to be valued by the franchise and given a contract worth his talent.
"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."
If Bell is tagged again, his salary next season is projected to go up to roughly $14.5m.
Bell reiterated he does not care about the money aspect of playing football and said he would be comfortable leaving the sport if he felt he was getting a raw deal.
"I don't necessarily care about the money aspect of it. I just want to be valued where I'm at," Bell said. "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. 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."