The Pittsburgh Steelers begin their journey to capture the team’s seventh Super Bowl in franchise history on Sunday but one of their key players is already mulling his future with not only the organization but with football in general.
Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell is 25-years old and fresh off a first-team All Pro season but the running back told ESPN’s Jermey Fowler that he’s willing to sit out a season or even retire if the team places the franchise tag on him for the second year in a row:
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) January 11, 2018
“I hope it doesn’t come to that, but I would definitely consider it, Just get the numbers straight exactly where we want them. I’m not going to settle for anything. 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.”
“It will eventually come down to me playing on the tag or not,” Bell said. “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. 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.”
Bell played on a $12.1 million franchise tag in 2017 and the number is projected to increase to around $14.5 million next season. Teams are able to tag a player between February 20th and March 6th and if they do so, they would have until July 16 to workout a long term deal.
When Bell was asked what the Steelers should do this offseason, he simply said: “value me.”
Bell rushed 321 times for 1,291 yards and caught 85 passes for 655 yards along with 11 total touchdowns in 2017. Alongside Antonio Brown and Big Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers have built one heck of a trio.
They are hoping the trio can lead this team to their seventh Super Bowl and it all starts for them on Sunday vs Jacksonville.