LeVeon Bell's decision to forego the 2018 season won't end the speculation about his future any time soon.
The theory-crafting about where the dual-threat running back might land, and how much he'll command on the open market has already begun.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on NFL *GameDay Morning* that Bell wants more than $17 million per season.
"He wanted $17 million from the Steelers last year," Rapoport said. "A new year, a higher [salary] cap, he wants more than $17 million. Heavy in the guaranteed money, from what I'm told, seeking more than $45 million in guarantees. ... He could potentially look for a five-year, $85 million deal. Consider the fact that it could be front-loaded, he may actually get the $20 million-plus over maybe the first two years that he wants."
Rapoport notes that there is a "very real possibility" the Steelers could slap the transition tag on Bell, which would simply give the team the opportunity to match any offer the running back receives. If Bell found a deal with front-loaded guarantees that Pittsburgh avoids, he'd be on his way to a new city.
Debates will rage over the course of the next few months about whether Bell's decision to sit out the entire season will help or hurt his free agency status. Will a team want to shell out cash for a player who's willing to skip an entire year? Could a break on the body for an aging player at a position that gets brutalized actually be a good thing?
The more suitors Bell has, the more likely he will be to find the deal he seeks. It only takes two teams to get a bidding war started. And it sounds like at this point, he'll have a legit market.