Sport

Doesn't want to play under franchise tag in 2018

Doesn't want to play under franchise tag in 2018

Contract-year RB Le'Veon Bell says he will consider sitting out the 2018 season or retiring if franchise tagged for the second-consecutive year. Bell's tag this season was $12.1 million, so $14.5 million isn't outrageous. Even with Antonio Brown having an MVP-caliber season, one could argue that Bell is Pittsburgh's most important offensive player. Another reason the Steelers might balk at giving him the long-term deal he wants is that Bell has previously been suspended for substance use, putting him at risk for further (and longer) suspensions.

Regardless, there is little doubt that the Steelers will need to pay top-dollar for a player like Bell, who is widely regarded as the best running back in the NFL.

Bell reportedly turned down a long-term contract past year because he didn't feel the Steelers valued him. That being said, it's unusual to hear this come out before the Steelers' first playoff game of the season.

If Bell continues to insist he won't play under the franchise tag, the Steelers will have a tough decision to make.




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. The two sides could not come together on a deal, however, and Bell ended up holding out for the entire preseason before ultimately signing his tender shortly before the season. There are no guarantees that the Steelers will get to the AFC Championship to face presumably the New England Patriots. He is a genuine workhorse, one of the last true full-time feature backs left in today's National Football League game.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell made it clear he doesn't want another franchise tag.

That term kept coming up in the ESPN story: value.

Fowler tweeted out that he took full responsibility for asking the question of Bell and then pointed out that he spoke extensively of this season and winning a Super Bowl. Now the headlines are what might happen with Bell next season.


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