Doesn't want to play under franchise tag in 2018


The Rams were unafraid to use it twice on Trumaine Johnson.

Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell is playing this season under the NFL's franchise tag, and he is not interested in doing so again next year. Unless he just refuses to play.

Steelers star running back Le'Veon Bell made headlines on Thursday after he told ESPN that he'd consider sitting out or retiring next season if the team tried to force him to play under the franchise tag again.

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"I hope it doesn't come to that, but I would definitely consider it", Bell told ESPN before Thursday's practice in preparation for Sunday's AFC Divisional playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. From his patient running style to his business approach, Bell is drawn to doing things differently, he said, and the birth of his daughter a year ago has become a factor for him to consider.

Bell a First Team All-Pro in 2017, played on a $12.1 million frachise tag and would receive a $14.5 million tag if Pittsburgh designates him next season.

Bell has a strong argument to garner a lucrative contract offer as he's been arguably the best running back in the league over the last few seasons.

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At the same time, Bell and his teammates are right to feel a little bit of pressure to strike while the iron is hot. Among running backs under contract for next year, Devonta Freeman's average salary of $8.25 million is No. 1. That's a lot of cheese. That reality may ultimately win out for the Steelers in the end. I'm not going to settle for anything. Bell's desire with regards to the terms of a new contract is simple: for the team to show that it values everything he brings 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".

The sides can not begin discussing a new deal until after the season.

Bell rushed for 1,291 yards and caught 85 passes for 655 yards, with 11 total touchdowns in the 2017 season but doesn't seem bothered by the idea of leaving the game of football in his prime. He was a workhorse this year for a Steelers offense that was high octane but oftentimes inconsistent.

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Let the offseason posturing begin early.