The Pittsburgh Steelers will get Le’Veon Bell for the regular season, but if the franchise is expecting anything “extra” from the star running back, they will have to work out a long-term deal. Bell was once again handed the franchise tag, which means no new deal for the second season in a row.
According to ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler, Bell did say he has no plans of sitting out the 2018 season. The Steelers lost in the AFC Divisional Round of the playoffs to the Jacksonville Jaguars, 45-42.
Bell skipped training camp last year as a result of the tag, and that’s his plan once again. It appears to be the same old song and dance of two sides butting heads. Bell wants a long-term deal. The Steelers appear to be content with the franchise tag, which still will pay him more than he made in 2017. Per sportrac.com, Bell signed a 1 year, $14,544,000 contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers, including an average annual salary of $14,544,000. In 2018, Bell will earn a base salary of $14,544,000, while carrying a cap hit of $14,544,000.
“Honestly, no, I’m not going to sit out. I’m going to be in the facility Week 1,” Bell said. “It’s going to be a rerun of last year. I’m not going to [training] camp. I’m not doing nothing else extra, OTAs, none of that. …
“I’m going to strictly go to what I have to go to. I want to win every game. I want to have the best statistical career that I possibly can, so I want to play in every game that I can possibly play.”
Bell was drafted by the Steelers in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Michigan State. He is a three-time Pro Bowl players (2014, 2016, 2017), a two-time First-team All-Pro (2014, 2017) player and was named Second-team All-Pro (2016).
According to Fowler, Bell told ESPN on Monday that retirement is still an option, or that the Steelers might not see him until Week 10, the deadline for picking up an accrued season and ensuring eligibility for 2019 free agency. It’s a situation that could hurt the Steelers and their quest to win the AFC North division.