Le'Veon Bell Says He Will Not Sit Out This Season

Aubrey Yates
March 9, 2018

If he plays on the franchise tag, he'll be an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

The good news is that the Steelers and Bell have made progress from last offseason.

Pittsburgh were gifted extra salary cap space of almost $10m to pay Bell's franchise tag on Wednesday when wide receiver Antonio Brown agreed to restructure his contract. One thing is clear here. He's slated to earn $14.5 million under the franchise tag next season. Because of his interest off the field and combined with the fact that he seems to enjoy being the current spokesman for National Football League running backs and the potential savior of the position's market value, I fully expect Bell to stay away from the team's OTAs once again as he refuses to sign the franchise tag. Bell even admitted to Fowler that his mother wanted him to sign that offer and he chose to go against her wishes just the same.

"When the end of July comes, wherever we're at... if I sign, everybody'll be happy, but if not, I guess I gotta play it by ear", Bell said. I want to win every game.

"I'm a guy who has to stand firm at what I really feel I'm valued at so the running back market can be where it needs to be", Bell added.

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Bell's contract negotiations with the Steelers have been pretty contentious. The running back expounded on that too.

"I think the fact people do say that, we have to get everything we can when we are in the prime of our career because we don't play as long so we don't make as much money".

Bell also said he wants a deal that, at a minimum, averages $14.5 million annually since that number matches up with the tag value.

Bell, the 48th overall pick in the 2013 draft, ran for 1,291 yards and a career-high nine touchdowns last season while catching a personal-best 85 passes for 655 yards and two scores.

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