Le'Veon Bell threatens retirement in 2018 if tagged again

Tricia Pearson
January 13, 2018

The Steelers slapped a $12.1 million franchise tag on Bell for this year, so that means more free agency drama may very well ensue come March.

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. "I'm not going out here getting the ball 400 times if I'm not getting what I feel I'm valued at".

Bell said he would "probably be done" with football if he did sit out 2018. He said he would have no trouble sitting out the 2018 campaign. But we still can envision the Steelers using the tag - not to sign him to an extension, which the team and he failed to reach this past offseason, but rather as a way of shackling Bell for a trade.

Last year, Bell turned down a contract estimated to be worth $30 million in the first two years because he felt the team wasn't giving him his worth.

Bell was on pace for one of the higher workloads in recent National Football League history before he sat out in Week 15 along with many other Steelers starters. "Value me", Bell said Thursday.

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Bell's earning power may never be higher than it is this offseason, so it's little surprise he's willing to do whatever it takes to get as much money as possible-whether from the Steelers or another team.

The team did have a long-term offer on the table until July 18, the deadline for franchise player designees to avoid playing this season under the tag by inking a different deal. "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. I'm in a position where I can do that, and I'm going to do it". Right now, though, Bell is just trying to focus on the playoffs. "Now, I've done everything but own a Super Bowl".

Bell's comments, however, suggest the latter path could cause a standoff.

Well, after a career full of highlight reels and plenty of talent left in the tank, Bell is looking for money.

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