Running back Le'Veon Bell is using a familiar tone to those in Washington after he and the Pittsburgh Steelers failed to reach a long-term deal Monday.
Bell's 2017 contract ranks second among running backs next season in terms of total cash. His one-year salary would be even higher next year. Bell will become an unrestricted free agent at season's end, but the Steelers can work out a deal at the conclusion of the upcoming season or again can place the franchise tag on him.
It wouldn't be ideal but Bell's best way to maximize his compensation might be playing under at least one franchise tag if the right deal doesn't materialize before the July 15 deadline for reaching multiyear contracts with franchise players. If these figures are correct, Bell's rejection of this deal is something of a surprise to the salary cap experts.
Bell has been absent from offseason workouts while recovering from groin surgery.
Monday marked the last day for any potential contract negotiations for players, and the day came and went when it came to Bell's situation with the Steelers. While injuries may have played a role in the Steelers hesitation, most running backs struggle to get long-term deals. The hefty franchise tag, Bell's historic production and his 16 missed games for suspensions or injuries over the last three years gave both sides much to sort out this summer. Let's say that. But you also have to think about the fact that from a team standpoint, he hasn't had one full year where he's either healthy or not in a little bit of trouble. And only two running backs averaged over 100 yards rushing last season: Bell and Ezekiel Elliott. "I'm going to take it day-to-day and see what happens".
"I definitely don't want to play for anybody else", Bell said of the Steelers. However, if the sources of NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero are to be believed, that is exactly what the Pittsburgh Steelers tried to do.
"The way I train, all it's going to take for me is a few practices and some game action", Bell said.