"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".
If Bell continues to insist he won't play under the franchise tag, the Steelers will have a tough decision to make. If Bell is tagged between February 20th and March 6th, Pittsburgh would have until July 16th to come to a long term agreement. But Bell turned it down, believing he was worth more. As it was, his 406 touches were the second-most of any National Football League player since 2009.
The sides can not begin discussing a new deal until after the season. Even with Antonio Brown having an MVP-caliber season, one could argue that Bell is Pittsburgh's most important offensive player. Sure, there's a very good reason for them to keep feeding the ball to Bell as they have - he's one of the best, if not the best, backs of his generation.
Bell has a relatively lengthy history of contract disputes with the Steelers, the only team he's ever played for. Not as much as his talent would suggest.
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Gurley, the Rams' Pro Bowl running back who is due to become a free agent after the 2018 season, definitely took note of Bell's comments.
That might drop his value to a Day 2 or Day 3 pick. While Bell is still relatively young, his increased workload in recent years could mean an earlier decline. So, we totally understood where Bell was coming from. As far as Roethlisberger, the two-time Super Bowl champion said on Wednesday that he is not even thinking about the possibility that the game against the Jaguars could be his last game at Heinz Field. They are not projected to receive any compensatory picks in 2018 either.
Le'Veon Bells don't grow on trees, and there would be a considerable risk to shipping him out when he still could have two or three productive seasons left.
It's only natural for a pending free agent to think of his future. Whether Pittsburgh is going to pay him or not won't be known until the offseason.