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Bell says he'd consider retirement if tagged again

12 January 2018

He told ESPN on Thursday that he might even contemplate retiring or sitting out the 2018 National Football League season if the Steelers slap him with the franchise tag again.

CBS Sports Jason La Canfora says Bell would make $14.54 million if the Steelers franchise him again.

That's probably the last time we'll hear Bell talk about his franchise tag this postseason.

Bell still has plenty left in the tank professionally, but he's not onboard with playing under the franchise tag again for the second straight season. He said he would have no trouble sitting out the 2018 campaign. "If I was a free agent and they let me go, be a free agent, then yeah, I'm going to go explore free agency, test the market". Bell reportedly turned down a two-year deal that was worth up to $30 million last year. After that, they have until July 16 to work out a long-term contract.

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Bigger than Bell's future is that of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who turns 36 on March 2. "I hope it doesn't come to that, but I would definitely consider it", Bell said Thursday. These comments went viral, and Bell took to Twitter in an attempt to defuse the situation.

It's hard to argue with Bell's logic. This topic was tabled for much of the season given the team's success and playoff push.

The problem for Bell is the amount of money he wants.

Bell would, of course, would be turning down a hefty salary by refusing to play under the tag.

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"I don't necessarily care about the money aspect of it". The All-Pro back reiterated that he just wants to be properly valued. If I am playing this game, I want to set standards for all the other running backs behind me, like Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott, Melvin Gordon, guys like that. "They tag me again, it will be me [saying], 'OK, do I want to play on the tag or do I not want to play on the tag?' That's what it comes down to". I feel I can do that.

If there's a silver lining for the Steelers, it's that Bell doesn't appear eager to leave Pittsburgh. But he doesn't have any intention of staying if he doesn't get the kind of long-term deal he feels he deserves.

Bell said the Steelers must show that they value him in this offseason's contract negotiations.

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Bell says he'd consider retirement if tagged again