The 25-year old first-team All-Pro running back played on a $12.1 million franchise tag in 2017, and it isn't something he's interested in doing again.
Asked what the Steelers should do this offseason, Bell said simply: "Value me".
It is always hard to know whether players' threats are just negotiating ploys, but Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell told ESPN.com that he is willing to sit out a season, and perhaps even retire, if the franchise tag is placed on him for the second year in a row.
"Just get the numbers straight exactly where we want them", Bell told Fowler.
If Bell were to sit out the year, he told ESPN, he would likely be finished with football. "I'm not going out here getting the ball 400 times if I'm not getting what I feel I'm valued at".
Bell had 1,844 scrimmage yards, 11 total touchdowns and 85 receptions this past season, so he has a valid point about be valued. The 321 rushing attempts represented a career high for Bell, the most since he tallied 290 rushing attempts in 2014.
These words are jarring against the backdrop of the Steelers' potential Super Bowl run, which begins in earnest against Jacksonville in Sunday's AFC divisional round. In his five NFL seasons, he has played 62 games and amassed 7,996 yards, more than anyone else during the same stretch since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, according to ESPN.
The team did have a long-term offer on the table until July 18, the deadline for franchise player designees to avoid playing this season under the tag by inking a different deal.
Le'Veon Bell might be the most versatile running back in football in the prime of his career right now. This could be Bell's only chance to hit the open market in his prime and land a lucrative contract.
He added: "I don't necessarily care about the money aspect of it. I'm in a position where I can do that, and I'm going to do it". Perhaps it was his way of trying to show how committed he is to wanting to stay in Pittsburgh for the long-haul and win it all this year. Steelers fans are sweating the timing of the comments, and although Bell had no intention of being a distraction, Steelers players shrug at the weekly chaos.