"I think where we were last year at this point, we're a lot further than we were last year. I think we'll eventually come to an agreement and hopefully everything goes well," Bell said Wednesday after Pro Bowl practice.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported last year that Bell turned down a contract that would have paid him $30 million guaranteed in the first two seasons. The running back said Wednesday he'd turn down a similar deal but pointed to things other than the guaranteed money in the contract as the sticking points. Bell declined to go into detail about what particulars caused him to turn down the contract in 2017.
"There's not really a number that kind of sets it," Bell said when asked if there was a contract figure he had in mind. "I just know the running back market is a lot lower than it should be. Us, as a position, we do a lot of things that we don't get credit for. Yeah a lot of teams have two-running back systems and things like that, but talking about literally kind of do-everything for their team, like the Todd Gurley's, maybe they only get a couple plays off. There was a lot of games where I had to play like 85 snaps, that's a lot of snaps. So, I think just trying to set a market value for a lot of the top guys at the position so they can get paid like a top guy at the position is my goal. And that's what I'm going to continue to try to do."
Beginning on February 13, the Steelers could slap the franchise tag on Bell again, which would pay the running back around $14.5 million for 2018. Bell said he hasn't been told whether the team would place the franchise tag on him as a potential placeholder for a long-term deal.
Bell reiterated he'd confident a deal can get done this time around.
"I think just because the fact that I had a good season," he said. "I came out of the season healthy. Maybe I feel like they needed to see some things and make sure everything was under wrap with me. I feel like I did everything the right way. Plus the way the coaches and front office talked to me, told me that we should be getting something done. Obviously, my head's up, I'm confident. I also want to get everything done. The quicker, the better."