Le'Veon Bell Wants to Be Paid as Top RB and No. 2 WR in New Contract

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 20, 2017

Le'Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers, winner of the Courtyard Greatness on the Road award, poses in the press room at the 6th annual NFL Honors at the Wortham Center on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, in Houston. (Photo by Jeff Lewis/Invision for NFL/AP Images)
Jeff Lewis/Associated Press

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell reportedly wants to be paid like more than just a top player at his own position.

Bell's former teammate, Ike Taylor, appeared on Wednesday's NFL Total Access and said the playmaker prefers to be compensated as a top running back and a No. 2 wide receiver, via Chris Wesseling of NFL.com.

This comes after Bell and the Steelers didn't reach an agreement on a long-term contract before Monday's deadline for franchise players.

The idea of the running back as a No. 2 receiver is not a far stretch considering his recent production. Bell not only led the Steelers with 1,268 rushing yards in just 12 games last year, he finished as the team's second-best receiver with 616 yards through the air.

Wesseling noted the Michigan State product "became the first player in NFL history to average at least 100 rushing yards and 50 receiving yards per game over the course of a season" while leading the NFL in touches (28) and yards (157) per contest.

While Bell's $12.1 million franchise tag makes him the highest-paid running back, Taylor explained the playmaker's position.

"Le'Veon has the power right now with that $12 million," Taylor said. "For only one position. And when you add more value to that running back, just give me $3 [million] more. Put it at $15 [million]. Give me three [million] more."

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Bell also echoed his former teammate's sentiments, per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler:

"I feel I should be valued as a player, not so much my position. Hopefully down the line I can get valued at, not as much a guy who gets the ball 30 carries and that's it.

"I make plays in the passing game, blocking, doing everything. I'm arguably the top running back in the NFL and the No. 2 receiver on the Steelers, even though I play running back. Their career receiving total vs. mine, they don't have more yards than me."

He also appeared to tweet his frustration at the failure to reach a long-term agreement Monday:

Le'Veon Bell @LeVeonBell

I guess I just gotta get better...

Still, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported Pittsburgh offered Bell a contract with an annual average of $12 million and $30 million in the first two years before he decided to play on the tag.

While Bell can sign a long-term extension next offseason, it is important for his own leverage and the Steelers' chances on the field he remains healthy and productive. He is one of the best running backs in the league and a formidable threat in the aerial attack, but he missed 17 contests over four seasons because of injuries and off-field issues.

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