Yesterday, the Steelers would officially place the franchise tag on running back Le’Veon Bell for the second straight season. It’s not what he wants; he has been very clear about that. But the Steelers and Bell remain some ways apart on an extension.
“We’re not coming to a number we both agree on – they are too low, or I guess they feel I’m too high. I’m playing for strictly my value to the team, that’s what I’m asking. I don’t think I should settle for anything less than what I’m valued at,” says Bell.
And he makes a fair point. After all, why would anyone play for anything less than their worth. the ball-carrier is a huge part of the Steelers offense. If Ben Roethlisberger has enough left in the tank, then he, Bell and wideout Antonio Brown are nearly unstoppable. But if the running back isn’t there? Then there’s potentially an issue. And right now, there’s no guarantee of him suiting up. At least not for the entire 2018 season, anyway.
“But obviously, when the end of July comes (the deadline to sign tagged players), wherever we’re at … if I sign, everybody’ll be happy, but if not, I guess I gotta play it by ear. If I’ll be out till Week 1, if I’ll be out till Week 10, or if I’m gonna be out there at all. It depends on how I feel at that time and moment.”
But for what it’s worth, the star running back is “definitely hoping for something to get done.”
In the meantime, the Steelers will look to press on after a disappointing (and early) exit from last season’s playoffs. Having Bell for an entire season would go a long way towards helping them achieve that goal.