Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell tells Jeremy Fowler of ESPN that while it’s “frustrating” to not get a long-term extension in place before today’s deadline, he still understands it’s a business. However, he still feels he’s worth more than what Pittsburgh is currently offering him.
“It’s a little frustrating, but it’s a business,” said Bell. “I’m not in a rush to sign for something I’m not valued at, if I feel I’m worth more than what they are offering me.”
Bell says he plans to take it upon himself to show that the running back position is more valuable than what team’s have been paying players.
“The running back market definitely took a hit, and I can’t be the guy who continues to let it take a hit,” Bell said. “We do everything. We block, we run, we catch the ball. Our value isn’t where it needs to be. I’m taking it upon myself to open up some eyes and show the position is more valuable.”
While he’s disappointed that they couldn’t agree to anything today, Bell made it clear that he wants to be a part of the Steelers moving forward.
“I definitely don’t want to play for anybody else,” Bell said of the Steelers. “You never know what will happen. Today was a big eye opener. I’m going to definitely enjoy my best year with the Steelers and be happy with it.”
Bell added: “I want to be valued.”
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert released a statement earlier in the day saying that they plan to pick up contract talks next year.
“Unfortunately, we were unable to agree to terms on a long-term contract with Le’Veon Bell prior to today’s deadline,” said Colbert. “Le’Veon is scheduled to play this year under the Exclusive Franchise Tag designation. We will resume our efforts to address his contract situation following the 2017 season.”
Bell, 25, is a former second-round pick of the Steelers back in 2013. He played out the final year of his four-year, $4,120,600 rookie contract that included a $1,376,800 signing bonus and was in position to be one of the best players in this year’s free agent market.
In 2016, Bell appeared in 12 games and running for 1,268 yards on 261 carries (4.9 YPC) to go along with 75 receptions for 616 yards receiving and three nine total touchdowns. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 1 running back out of 62 qualifying players.
We’ll have more regarding Bell and the Steelers as the news is available.