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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Le’Veon Bell expresses optimism over contract situation with Steelers

Le'Veon Bell

Le’Veon Bell has said that he would consider sitting out the entire 2018 season or even retiring if the Pittsburgh Steelers use the franchise tag on him again, and perhaps the team is taking the threat seriously.

While speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Bell said the Steelers have already presented him with a long-term contract extension offer. Not only that, but the star running back says the two sides are a lot closer to an agreement than they were a year ago.

The belief has been that the Steelers will use the tag on Bell and then try to work out a long-term deal with him, just like they did last offseason. However, that may not have to happen if Bell already likes where the negotiations are heading.

If the Steelers franchise tag Bell again, he would make $14.5 million for the 2018 season. One of the reasons the Steelers were concerned about committing to Bell long-term is his lengthy injury history, so the 25-year-old could argue that his value has increased after he enjoyed an injury-free season and racked up nearly 2,000 total yards from scrimmage.

Since he is so effective in the passing game, Bell wants to be paid like a wide receiver rather than a running back. He was said to be seeking $16 million per year last year, and it’s doubtful that he has lowered his demands much. While Bell has gotten himself into some trouble off the field, there are plenty of teams that would ignore all that and give him a massive contract. Pittsburgh knows that, so it would not be a surprise if a long-term deal is eventually reached.

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