Running back Le'Veon Bell plans to showcase his value to the Pittsburgh Steelers this season, but the unsigned franchise player might first make a statement by skipping training camp.
"I haven't thought about it that far," Bell said Tuesday in an interview with ESPN. "I'm game planning today. I was thinking that the (long-term) deal would be done. I'm going to take it day-to-day and see what happens."
Bell is under no obligation to report to training camp because he did not sign the $12.1 million franchise tender under which he would play in 2017. Since his salary for the upcoming season is locked in, Bell's absence wouldn't be the traditional holdout.
The Steelers made an attempt to sign Bell to a long-term deal before Monday's deadline for such agreements, but it was below market in Bell's opinion.
"The running back market definitely took a hit," Bell said. "And I can't be the guy who continues to let it take a hit. We do everything: We block, we run, we catch the ball. Our value isn't where it needs to be."
Bell's $12.1 million salary under the franchise marker puts him north of the next-highest-paid NFL running back, LeSean McCoy of the Buffalo Bills, by $4.1 million in terms of salary for 2017.
Bell, 25, said it's "a little frustrating" not to have a long-term contract in place entering training camp after sensing great progress was being made. He also said he needs very little time, on the practice field and in preseason games, to be ready for the regular season.
NFL Network reported Bell's contract offer from the Steelers was a five-year deal that paid him $42 million over the first three years of the contract and $30 million in the first two seasons combined.