Le’Veon Bell threatens to sit out next season if Steelers franchise him

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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.”

73 responses to “Le’Veon Bell threatens to sit out next season if Steelers franchise him

  1. Bell, you’re the best running back on the planet, but please stop talking about next year when we still have 3 steps left to finish this year.

  2. Hard do say what the best back in the league is worth, but given his injury issues in the past I dont love giving him a long term contract and the exessive value over the second best back.

  3. He’s right about how good he is, but running backs aren’t that important anymore. You can get good ones out there to compliment the high performing Steelers aerial attack.

    Don’t let this guy hold you hostage.

  4. “This will have no impact on the Steelers, however. Meanwhile, the deepening rift between Brady and Belichick was evident in the way a groundskeeper disposed of crumpled up drinking cups after the Patriots practice.” — ESPN

  5. Sure why not spend 10% of the cap on a RB, that’s a clear recipe for success in the NFL right?

    I expect the Steelers are smarter than that

  6. Oof. Now is not the time to yap about future contracts. He just cost himself plenty of money. Pittsburgh is busy squawking about James Harrison and Le’Veon, while New England has tunnel vision for the next game. Winners find a way to win, losers can’t get out of their own way.

  7. Kinda reminds me of NBA player Latrell Sprewell telling the MN T-Wolves that $14 million wasn’t enough, cuz he had a “family to feed.”


  8. Wow, Steelers first disrespect a long time defensive standout for the team, and now they want to force one of the league’s best RB’s to play for them on the cheap. Pittsburgh does not respect their players, obviously.

  9. So if he gets the tag, he will sit out the year and probably retire. If you’re going to retire anyway, then why not just play one year $14.5m?

  10. I love it. All the Steelers hater coming out because Bell answered a question. Lol a distraction. You guys wish…of course if you really had your wish, you’d want him to start his hold out now. So he didn’t run all over your teams.

  11. Negotiation talk; plan and simple. And the Steelers management will send him a little message of negotiation too when they draft another runningback in April. He sends a message, management sends a message. Steelers are not held hostage by no player.

  12. The week of a home divisional playoff game and he’s talking about sitting out next year!!! Tomlin talks about playing the Patriots in playoffs three weeks ago…and Mitchell guaranteed a win versus the Patriots !!! Talk about a team not focused at what’s in front of them…..

  13. Take him off that team and you’ll see a vast difference in how everyone plays.

    Sorry but you can’t stack the box against the Steelers because of Brown and now JuJu eating up one on one matchups especially man coverage. Blitz and Roethlisberger can still hold the ball long enough to make something happen. So you need to respect the pass.

    But with a lighter box Bell and his patience can get to the outside easily making those 2 yard gains turn into 5-6 and eventually 10+. Plus play a soft zone and Bell in space becomes a nightmare for defenses to cover. Not only that but he becomes your closer as he seems to never get tired and always churns out tough yards as the game goes on. Plus the D is built to keep a lead as the linebackers struggle in space (as seen now that Shazier is out) so you need to be up to let guys like Watt rush and keep the pressure on.

    With all that said it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep Bell, Ben and Brown together so hopefully Bell will be smart enough to realize this and take the contract Pittsburgh has for him next year as I highly doubt it wouldn’t compensate him.

  14. If I was being asked to pound my body into 300lbs DT with no guaranteed future I would feel the same way. If you feel differently I suggest you let JJ Watt or Ndomakong Suh tackle you a few times. See what it’s like

  15. I guess this jerk is the anti-kirk cousins.

    So nice to see Bell is a team player. He only plays for the team of one.

  16. Does any team pay 14 million for their entire RB depth chart currently?
    Pats have what 5 and surely they aren’t paying 14 mil for them.
    Bell may be slightly over valuing his position

  17. See if he is as good as he is outside of this organization and behind that O-line

    A fool indeed

    Any team signing him for more will wreck their salary cap and he will find out it’s not him but the team

  18. Say whatever you want but he’s negotiating from a position of strength and he’s smart to try to get whatever he can. As he said the Steelers don’t hesitate to give him the ball almost 400 times a year and he’s clearly the best running back in the league so pay the man or let him walk

  19. Every one of the 31 other teams would want Le’Veon Bell in their team. He is the #1 key to the Steelers charge for a Super Bowl. However, for the long term deal to be raised now, it’s an attempt to cause disruption. He deserves to be paid because he is the best in the game. If Steelers don’t find the money, they deserve to lose him.

  20. Well at least he is on the one team that was against signing the C.B.A. You play or you lose 14 mil. 3 games in the playoffs is all that he has played in his career. Steelers gave him a good offer last off season. He did not accept. The fact that he is talking about this subject days before the divisional game coupled with other drug related decisions he has made shows that the Steelers are not paying him for his brains. He will play for 14 million next year and the Steelers will run him into the ground and then part ways. Of course he could fake an injury next year and still get paid. Either way if I am Pitt I take what I can get out of the franchise tag and say adios! Too much money,not enough maturity.

  21. “All the Steelers hater coming out because Bell answered a question.”

    Its not because he answered a question but the way he did. BTW the proper response was “My only concern is beating the Jaguars this weekend so we can advance to the AFC Championship. I’ll worry about my contract after the season is over.”

  22. Good. Let him consider it.

    This makes me want him tagged even more. Zero chance… ZERO chance of him sitting out the season next year if tagged. At that age a RB he can’t afford to lose that earning potential.

    Blame your union if you don’t like the rules, Leveon.

    They offered him a more than fair deal last offseason. Perhaps they will again. But in no way, shape or form should they be giving this guy $16-$17M / year long term. And I’m glad that the Steelers aren’t dumb enough to do that.

    I’d even be OK with a franchise and trade situation, although that doesn’t seem like the Steelers’ style.

  23. I don’t pretend to know what goes on in the Pitt front office. But their 3 top offensive players – Ben, Antonio, and now Bell, all start BS in the last month or so.
    Something just doesn’t sound right..

  24. If this guy does leave in free agency, his new team better be prepared to do major renovations on their stadium and practice facility. No way this guys head can fit thru standard sized doorways.

  25. Bell isn’t the most important player on the Steelers – Ben is. He isn’t 2nd AB is. Steelers will tag him and he will play the # 0f games to get out of Pittsburgh making just over 1/2 of his 14.5 tag. Some stupid team,I am looking at you Detroit, will give him the 17+ mil he wants.Life will go on ………

  26. So a high volume RB in his age 26 season w/ a history of injuries is going to turn down $14.5M guaranteed (almost double McCoy & Freeman, the nest highest paid RBs at about $8m/per) from a team with legit SB aspirations? And he’d still have the ability to be a UFA at age 27?

    Have fun sitting at home earning nothing. That seems like a better career decision…

  27. If Bell doesn’t trust his agent, he should fire him. Let your agent do the talking, and let it be done behind closed doors. By Bell running his mouth, he’s lowering his own stock. Nobody wants to deal with a head case that isn’t focused on the upcoming playoff game.

  28. skawh says:
    Wow, Steelers first disrespect a long time defensive standout for the team, and now they want to force one of the league’s best RB’s to play for them on the cheap. Pittsburgh does not respect their players, obviously.

    Classic straw man argument.

  29. Take Sign the franchise tagged contract, make a ton of money.
    After that you will still get something, and will have made a lot of extra money on top of what you would normally have earned.

    3 key points:

    1 – play well
    2 – keep your mouth closed
    3 – don’t get hurt (which is outside your control)

  30. I would take Dion Lewis off the Patriots 10 times out of ten before this self absorbed, entitled player.


  31. No RB is worth that kind of money. And isn’t he the guy who sat out last year’s AFCCG after he got smacked in the mouth a few times?

  32. Two things. Le’Veon Bell should not be talking about next season this season that’s stupid especially threatening a hold out before playoff game. Second off we wonder why athletes and coaches never give interesting interviews because look what happens when they do.

  33. Dudes a loser!! No even close to NFLs best RB.. Pots more important than football on more than a few occasions. He could win a Super Bowl and he’s worring about next year. Good for Stealers opponents bad for him, that’s how you get hurt not focusing on the present. He can’t stop getting suspended and most importantly can’t get out of his own way with his terrible attitude. These aren’t traits a great RB have. Pitt can’t afford him and his greed will get him out of Pitt. Dudes a loser, Pitt would pay Bell but can’t stay in the field and won’t shut up. Pitt has a bunch of disgruntled employees.

  34. Ever since Shawn Alexander got the money, all RB’s stopped running hard after they got paid. Chris Johnson, etc… Let him go, let a dumb team like the Bucs or Browns over pay him.

  35. ariani1985 says:
    January 11, 2018 at 5:05 pm
    2 yard Tom would welcome him with open arms!!!

    You mean 2 yard Tom who led the league in passing yard, with the most completions pf 20 yards or more? Oh, you meant 20 yard Tom but had an uncorrected typo!

  36. I guess he just doesn’t understand that the NFL isn’t a league for RBs. He turned down a $30m guaranteed contract offer? Shady has 5yr/$40m and Bell wants more than $15m/season? Good luck with that, i don’t care how good you are. A team can’t tie that much money up on a RB when they can go out and get the Todd Gurleys (4yr/$13m) or Alvin Kamaras (4yr/$4m) of the world coming into the league as rookies.

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