Le'Veon Bell Rumors: Steelers RB Wants Same Money as Antonio Brown in Contract

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2018

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 22: Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates seven-yard touchdown reception with Le'Veon Bell #26 in the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field on October 22, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Justin Berl/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell reportedly wants to receive the same $17 million average annual salary wide receiver Antonio Brown got from the franchise when he signed a four-year, $68 million extension last February.

On Wednesday, Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network reported Bell has informed Pittsburgh's front office of his contractual demands, but Kinkhabwala noted the Steelers aren't prepared to make that type of offer.

Pittsburgh placed the franchise tag on Bell for the second straight season in early March.

Upon being tagged, the 26-year-old Michigan State product told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com the sides couldn't come to terms on a long-term contract extension.

"We're not coming to a number we both agree on—they are too low, or I guess they feel I'm too high," Bell said. "I'm playing for strictly my value to the team. That's what I'm asking. I don't think I should settle for anything less than what I'm valued at."

Bell and the Steelers now have until July 16 to work out a multiyear deal. Otherwise, he'll be forced to play under the one-year, $14.5 million tag if he wants to take the field in 2018.

He told Andrew Unterberger of Billboard that he won't make a final decision about how to move forward until that mid-July deadline passes.

"But obviously, when the end of July comes, wherever we're at... if I sign, everybody'll be happy, but if not, I guess I gotta play it by ear," Bell said. "If I'll be out till Week 1, if I'll be out till Week 10, or if I'm gonna be out there at all. It depends on how I feel at that time and moment."

The Ohio native has been one of the league's most valuable players since the Steelers selected him in the second round of the 2013 draft. He's racked up 7,996 yards from scrimmage and 42 touchdowns in 62 games en route to three Pro Bowl selections and a pair of first-team All-Pro nods.

He's also racked up a lot of touches over his five-year career, however, with 1,229 carries and 312 catches. Pittsburgh appears hesitant to make a Brown-level commitment to a player who's handled that type of workload despite his continued top-tier production.

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