Steelers running back Le’Veon becomes an unrestricted free agent on March 9, and the team isn’t saying yet whether they’ll keep him from testing the waters.
Pittsburgh General Manager Kevin Colbert said today that tagging Bell and signing him to a long-term deal are both options, but he didn’t rule out the possibility that Bell could test free agency.
“The tag is always an option, and it’s something we’ll use if necessary,” said Colbert. “We have until March 1 to make the decision. Again, this thing is very fluid. It changes daily, once you start into talks with players and start to see how it’s all going to fit. We know that’s an option. Even if we were to use the tag on Le’Veon, we would certainly want to do something long-term and have him be a member of the Steelers for life.”
The Steelers have more than $35 million in cap space, and Colbert likes the flexibility that gives him.
“We’re in a different world. We’re always real close to the cap. I think we’re in a situation where we don’t have to make any moves to get into compliance with the cap,” Colbert said.
Given that cap space, it would be surprising if the Steelers don’t do what it takes to keep Bell in place. And what it takes may be the franchise tag.