As much as the Pittsburgh Steelers want to focus on the Jacksonville Jaguars in the divisional round playoffs, there’s still the elephant in the room that needed to be addressed—Le’Veon Bell.
The Steelers have until Feb. 20 to decide whether to tag the 25-year-old running back, and their decision could spell the difference between Bell staying and walking away. The team already tagged Bell for $12.1 million in 2017 and he didn’t quite like it.
The Steelers laid out $30 million but Bell rejected the offer because he felt unappreciated. He said that he’s not asking for much, just that the Steelers should properly quantify his value and give him what he deserves.
“Just get the numbers straight, exactly where we want them,” he said. “I’m not going to settle for anything. I know what I do and what I bring to the table.”
Bell made it to the All-Pro team after rushing 1,291 yards from 321 rushes. He also scored 11 touchdowns last year, and caught 85 passes for a total of 655 yards. The running back recorded just four yards shy of 8,000 through 62 games.
“It will eventually come down to me playing on the tag or not,” he said. However, he said that he won’t be averse to testing the free agency market and sign with the team that will value what he can contribute on the field.
The Steelers will really need Bell as they face the rival Jaguars in the divisional playoffs.
In their first meeting in Week 5, Bell touched the ball 25 times in the 30-9 loss. But the Jaguars have since made strides on their rushing defense, even if they average of 116.3 yards allowed per game, said USA Today. When the Jaguars lose, they are allowing more than 153 yards. This is right up Bell’s alley and allowing him to create chaos out there on the field will only improve the Steelers chances of eliminating their rival.