NFL Notes: Bell threatens to sit out if franchised

Le'Veon Bell unsure about Steelers future

"I hope it doesn't come to that, but I would definitely consider it", Bell told ESPN.

Later on Thursday, Bell took to Twitter to reassure Steelers fans that he hasn't lost focus on the immediate task ahead of him and his teammates.

Le'Veon Bell might be the Steelers' most important player heading into Sunday's game against the Jaguars. The good news: Bell earned more than $12 million this season. He's projected to produce 18.6 FD points at a cost of $9,400 in this week's Divisional Round matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He will be a free agent after the season, unless the Steelers sign him to a long-term contract or place the franchise tag on Bell for the second straight year. He reached 7,500 yards from scrimmage in fewer games than any player (59) and by far leads the league in yards per scrimmage per game (129.0) since he entered the league as a second-round pick in 2013. He said he would have no trouble sitting out the 2018 campaign. Under the franchise tag, he would rank among the NFL's top-paid backs, but on the open market, he could very well set salary records while gaining some degree of long- or medium-term security. Teams can tag a player between February 20 and March 6, after which they would have until July 16 to work out a long-term deal. The Steelers could also choose to use the franchise tag, a prospect Bell clearly doesn't welcome.

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Bell has a relatively lengthy history of contract disputes with the Steelers, the only team he's ever played for.

"I don't necessarily care about the money aspect of it", explains Bell.

And I cringed because Bell should have known better than to answer that question, even if it might have been conversational and even if he might not have thought it was a big deal. Bell added that he doesn't need football to stay happy and he has already made enough money for his family. "Right now, I'm just kind of doing it because I love it". GM Kevin Colbert would then have to weigh what's best; for an aging roster and a Super Bowl window that might be closing, he could decide it behooves the team to get the 2018 selection. I feel I can do that. He mentioned the words "Super Bowl" several times in the interview.

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