It is no secret that one of the most versatile weapons the NFL has seen in years is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Le’Veon Bell’s patient running and receiving ability has made him one of the hardest guys to stop and has made the Steelers’ offense into one of the league’s best. However, Le’Veon Bell feels as if he may be undervalued in the front office. This could leave Pittsburgh Steelers’ front office and their fans with a nerve-racking offseason.
Le’Veon Bell was tagged with the franchise tag by the Steelers after the 2017 NFL Playoffs and signed a one-year deal worth over $12 million dollars after he and the Steelers could not come to an agreement on a long-term deal. After holding out of OTA’s and the preseason, Bell rejoined the Steelers and had another All-Pro year, totaling 1,946 total yards and 11 touchdowns. Fast-forward to this season, and the “franchise tag rumors” are swirling about again.
Leading up to the Steelers AFC Divisional Round matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars, reports came out that Bell would consider sitting out the 2018 season or even retiring if he was asked to play on the franchise tag for the second consecutive year. Although that would bump his salary up to a projected $14.6 million, keeping him as the highest-paid running back in the NFL, Bell still does not feel valued by the Steelers.
“I’m not going out there and getting the ball 400 times if I’m not getting what I feel I’m valued at.” said Bell, who just completed his fifth year with the Steelers. When asked what he wants the Steelers to do this offseason, Bell put it simply. “Value me.”
While the thought of retirement seems unbelievable, considering he is only 25 years old and the talent that is so evident, Bell stated that he is comfortable with the legacy he has and is striving to set the standard for the elite running backs in the league. Bell has made it very clear that he envisions himself remaining in Pittsburgh for his entire career, but it is evident the Steelers must do something to show Bell that he is valued adequately by the franchise.
While he is already the highest-paid running back in the league, the Steelers may have to pay more due to the value that Bell brings to an offense. Le’Veon Bell sees himself as worth more than just your typical running back, and if you’ve watched him play, it’s hard to say he’s wrong.