Le’Veon Bell will earn $12.12 million this season to play running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but his long-term future remains unknown. Monday’s franchise tag deadline passed, so Bell will operate under the tag during the upcoming season. He’s scheduled to become a free agent in 2018, but could always be franchise tagged again.
Shortly after the deadline, Bell shared his initial thoughts on Twitter.
A little later, Bell spoke to ESPN about his failed negotiations with the Steelers. He wouldn’t reveal any specifics of the contracts — like Washington did after the deadline — but he did lend some insight into his thought process.
“It’s a little frustrating, but it’s a business,” Bell told ESPN. “I’m not in a rush to sign for something I’m not valued at, if I feel I’m worth more than what they are offering me.”
Bell said he rejected the Steelers’ offer because he didn’t want to contribute to the devaluation of the running back position.
“The running back market definitely took a hit, and I can’t be the guy who continues to let it take a hit,” Bell said. “We do everything. We block, we run, we catch the ball. Our value isn’t where it needs to be. I’m taking it upon myself to open up some eyes and show the position is more valuable.”
Bell’s 2017 contract ranks second among running backs next season in terms of total cash. Only Leonard Fournette will make more than him, per Spotrac. But Bell isn’t chasing a lucrative one-year deal….
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