Steelers & Le’Veon Bell Fail To Reach 5-Year, $70 Million Deal; RB Hints At Retirement In Tweet
According to NFL.com, the team offered 26-year-old Bell a five-year, $70 million deal hours before Monday’s 4pm EST deadline for franchises to agree to a new contract with franchise stars. Had Bell signed that deal, he would have become the league’s highest-paid running back on a per-year basis ($14 million annually).
However, NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala said in March after the annual league meeting between team owners that Bell was seeking a deal worth closer to $17 million per year.
“He wants to be paid exactly like Antonio Brown is paid,” Kinkhabwala stated at the time. “So the Steelers are saying, ‘Well, we’re going to wait a little while before we address that fully because clearly the Steelers don’t feel that that’s where Bell’s value is.”
In a tweet just minutes after Monday’s deadline, Bell said he has always hoped to retire with the Steelers, and suggested he may leave the sport soon by saying he wishes to deliver his best season yet next fall.
“The NFL is a hard business at times,” Bell wrote. “To the fans that had hope, I’m sorry we let you down but trust me, 2018 will be my best season to date.”
to all my Steeler fans, my desire always has been to retire a Steeler…both sides worked extremely hard today to make that happen, but the NFL is a hard business at times…to the fans that had hope, I’m sorry we let youu down but trust me, 2018 will be my best season to date…
— Le’Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) July 16, 2018
According to CBS Sports, Bell recently said he might sit out the first eight games of next season, although his new tweet appears to contradict that. The running back is reportedly set to earn $14.5 million under the franchise tag in 2018.
In his career thus far, Bell has logged 5,336, 35 rushing touchdowns, 312 catches and 2,660 receiving yards, according to NFL.com. The Steelers franchise-tagged Bell early in the offseason.