Doesn't want to play under franchise tag in 2018

Dec 25 2017 Houston TX USA Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell carries the ball across the goal line for a touchdown against the Houston Texans during the third quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit Erik Williams-USA TODAY Spo

On Thursday, the Pittsburgh Steelers running back was quoted as saying that if the Steelers franchise him again, retirement is an option (which you can read about here). "But I would definitely consider it".

Bell has topped 1,200 rushing yards in three of his first five National Football League campaigns. "I'm not going to settle for anything", Bell told ESPN. "I can care less about what happens after this season...my biggest thing I'm focused on is this team I'm on right now, playing for/with my brothers, & bringing back a 7th ring! what happens next year is irrelevant to my goals". "I'm not going out here getting the ball 400 times if I'm not getting what I feel I'm valued at". Bell's tag this season was $12.1 million, so $14.5 million isn't outrageous. His cap hit for the same amount was almost $2 million more than the next highest-paid back. While the Steelers could prevent Bell from playing for another team by using the tag, they can't force him to play under it either. The first figure is the fourth-most money on the books for next season, and the latter number is the second-fewest number of players under contract. He was unhappy because the two sides couldn't come to a long-term contract agreement. But even with that, there might be work to do. But Bell turned it down, believing he was worth more. Bell held out at the start of training camp this season because he was unhappy about having to play under the franchise tag. It's an unlikely scenario, but Bell is keeping his options open, as he should. But they also could be getting the most out of him now before shipping him out before the law of diminishing returns catches up to him. If Bell did sit out 2018 if he's tagged again, he'd be turning down a deal that far surpasses what any other back will be getting. There's no denying that he's one of the top skill position players in the NFL. He has been a three-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All-Pro in his five years out of Michigan State.

The sides can not begin discussing a new deal until after the season. If they win that game, it's on to the AFC championship. Not as much as his talent would suggest.

Bell said he would "probably be done" with football if he did sit out 2018.

That might drop his value to a Day 2 or Day 3 pick.

If there's a silver lining for the Steelers, it's that Bell doesn't appear eager to leave Pittsburgh. While Bell is still relatively young, his increased workload in recent years could mean an earlier decline.

Fowler tweeted out that he took full responsibility for asking the question of Bell and then pointed out that he spoke extensively of this season and winning a Super Bowl. They are not projected to receive any compensatory picks in 2018 either.

It's only natural for a pending free agent to think of his future.

Le'Veon Ball is attracting quite a bit of drama. The Steelers are going to franchise tag him.

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