Steelers Set Deadline For Reaching Deal With Le'Veon Bell

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Last summer the running back turned down a long-term contract extension and the Steelers placed the franchise tag on him.

"We are a lot closer than we were previous year", Bell told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

"Value me", Bell said when asked what he wanted from the Steelers."Just get the numbers straight, exactly where we want them. Obviously we have to continue to get it done".

As noted in Fowler's tweet, the February 20 date carries added significance due to it's the first day a player can be hit with the franchise tag. A second tag would be worth around $14.5 million, but Bell told ESPN earlier this month he will consider sitting out the season or retiring if an extension is not reached. This isn't ideal, at least from Bell's perspective, and the running back suggested he would hold out and might even retire. He later told reporters he wanted to stay and play in Pittsburgh. That's the goal. That's what I want to do.

"There was a lot of games where I had to play like 85 snaps, that's a lot of snaps. Make everybody happy so everybody can come into the season and we don't have no distractions". The Steelers would be better off leaving Bell's contract situation a 2019 problem.

"It is what it is", he said.

Although neither side has divulged the full scope of the contract negotiations, the All-Pro running back has hinted toward seeking an amount that wouldn't just make him the highest-paid running back in the National Football League, but it would reset the market at the position completely. "I'm not going out here getting the ball 400 times if I'm not getting what I feel I'm valued at".

Well, the Steelers should let him keep on dreaming.

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