Bell rushed for 1,291 yards on 321 carries this season and also caught 85 passes for 655 yards. After being selected in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Bell made less than $1 million in base salary in each of his first four seasons, even as he emerged as one of the NFL's top running backs.
"I hope it doesn't come to that, but I would definitely consider it", he said before Thursday's practice. When this came out, he simply wanted Steelers Nation to know he's not turning the attention to himself. He said he would have no trouble sitting out the 2018 campaign.
Le'Veon Bell is prepared to pull out all the stops with the Steelers to make sure he isn't franchise tagged again, even if it means not playing. "I'm not going to settle for anything", Bell told Fowler. "I'm not going out here getting the ball 400 times if I'm not getting what I feel I'm valued at".
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.
The Steelers - who face the Jaguars in the Divisional Round Sunday afternoon - would have to tag Bell between February 20 and March 6, leaving them until July 16 to work out a multi-year deal. Pittsburgh reportedly offered him a long-term deal in July that would have paid him roughly $30 million over the first two years of the 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". Bell held out at the start of training camp this season because he was unhappy about having to play under the franchise tag. Right now, though, Bell is just trying to focus on the playoffs. "I'm in a position where I can do that, and I'm going to do it". It sounds picky, but saying "I can/could care less" implies that it's something you really care about. The three-time Pro Bowler wrote that his main priority is winning a Super Bowl right now and that "what happens next year is irrelevant to my goals".