Following the Pittsburgh Steelers' decision to place the franchise tag on star running back Le'Veon Bell for the second straight year, a murky cloud has appeared around their extension talks. There has yet to be any significant progress toward a new deal in the weeks since the designation was placed on him.
General manager Kevin Colbert has been quite vocal about the situation over the last few days, essentially stating that the team is prepared for the scenario that a new extension isn't worked out before the July 16 deadline. The 26-year-old has now put another twist on the situation posting a cryptic tweet on Thursday afternoon that can be seen as a shot at the city of Pittsburgh.
it’s so hard to be a hero in a city that paints youu out to be the villain.. pic.twitter.com/TBFAHTQJcm
— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) March 29, 2018
Things have shifted in a direction that Bell clearly doesn't feel is painting a fair public perception of him in his push for a lucrative contract extension. He is reportedly looking to garner a contract that gives him an average annual salary that matches the $17 million that All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown is earning on his current deal.
This, along with the threat of a possible holdout, puts the team in a position where they can easily give off the notion that he is putting himself above his teammates. At the same time, Bell has certainly produced at an elite level to warrant him a contract that makes Bell the highest paid player at the running back position.
The Michigan State product is coming off one of the most productive campaigns of his career, recording 1,291 rushing yards with nine rushing touchdowns as well as 85 catches for 655 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns.
His 1,946 total scrimmage yards were also the third-most in a single season in franchise history, while his 7,996 career scrimmage yards are the most by a player in his first five seasons in franchise history. This helped earn his second-straight Pro Bowl honor and a First-Team All-Pro selection for the first time since 2014.
While there may be some feeling of discontent from Bell, there is still plenty of time for both sides to work out a new deal over the next couple of months.