Le'Veon Bell played on the franchise tag in 2017. The Steelers star running back said he won’t do it again.
Bell threatened to sit out, or retire, if the Steelers franchise him again in 2018.
“I hope it doesn’t come to that, but I would definitely consider it,” Bell told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.
He wants a long-term deal in Pittsburgh or elsewhere, leaving the Steelers with a decision.
Bell earned $12.1 million on the franchise tag in 2017. That number projects to around $14.5 million for next season. Bell, who, in the offseason, turned down a deal worth up to $30 million in the first two years, via Fowler, said the Steelers need to “value” him.
“Just get the numbers straight, exactly where we want them,” Bell said. “I’m not going to settle for anything. I know what I do and what I bring to the table. I’m not going out here getting the ball 400 times if I’m not getting what I feel I’m valued at.”
Bell, 25, earned first-team All-Pro honors after rushing for 1,291 yards on 321 carries and catching 85 passes for 655 yards. He scored 11 total touchdowns.
Bell told Fowler if he sits out the 2018 season, he is unlikely to return.
“It will eventually come down to me playing on the tag or not,” Bell said. “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. If I was a free agent and they let me go, be a free agent, then yeah, I’m going to go explore free agency, test the market.”