Le'Veon Bell threatens Steelers right before his playoffs start

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell

If Bell is tagged between February 20th and March 6th, Pittsburgh would have until July 16th to come to a long term agreement.

Bell, speaking to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, said he would consider sitting out the 2018 season or even retiring (?!?) from football if the Steelers chose to use the tag on him for a second year in a row.

"It will eventually come down to me playing on the tag or not", Bell said.

"I just want to be valued where I'm at", Bell told Fowler.

"I've made a lot of money, I'm happy where I'm at, I've got a good family - I don't really need to play football", Bell told ESPN.

But he acknowledged last summer retirement could be a possibility after the 2017 season ends, so it wouldn't be shocking if he walked away after 14 seasons.

There's no guarantee the two-time All-Pro running back will be in the Steel City beyond this season. Bell's value in 2018 gets even more complicated because he has logged 406 touches already this season, before the Steelers' start the playoffs, and that many touches usually has an effect on running backs in future years.

Would he retire rather than accepting the franchise tag? At 25 years old, Bell has rushed for 5,336 yards and 35 touchdowns in 62 career games.

The 321 rushing attempts represented a career high for Bell, the most since he tallied 290 rushing attempts in 2014. If Bell did sit out 2018 if he's tagged again, he'd be turning down a deal that far surpasses what any other back will be getting.

Should Pittsburgh decide to let Bell test free agency, teams like the San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns with ample cap room could make it impossible for the team to re-sign him. "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". At that time, Bell made it clear that he expected to be paid as both a starting running back and a No. 2 wide receiver being as catches so many passes. "Right now, I'm just kind of doing it because I love it. I'm in a position where I can do that and I'm going to do it".