Report: Le'Veon Bell wants contract worth $15 million or more per year

Jan 15, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell (26) smiles for the camera after the game against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium. Pittsburgh won 18-16. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly made a reasonable contract offer to Le’Veon Bell before the deadline for franchise tagged players passed, but the star running back wants to blow the market for his position out of the water.

According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Bell turned down a contract that would have paid him more than $ 18 million in the first year and averaged $ 13 million per year over the first three seasons. However, Bell wants a deal with an average annual value worth $ 15 million or more.

What is perhaps more surprising is that Bell’s representatives reportedly believed the Steelers made a “strong” offer, but Bell still chose not to sign it. More from La Canfora:

He and his agent had set up shop in South Florida, and, with the 4 p.m. deadline nearing on July 17, all paperwork was ready to be faxed back to the Steelers, but Bell never put pen to paper.

The Steelers knew any contract terms always were subject to Bell’s approval, and that even though his advisors and union officials believed the deal was incredibly strong for the player, there was no guarantee he would actually sign. They were optimistic he may sign, sources said, but never assumed the deal was done.

Bell will make $ 12.1 million playing under the franchise tag this season. The next-highest paid running back is Devonta Freeman, who will make $ 8.25 million per year with the new contract he signed with the Atlanta Falcons. Bell wants to make nearly double that, though he believes he should be compensated for his major role in Pittsburgh’s passing game.

Yardbarker: NFL

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