Steelers don’t plan to rescind franchise tender, but could still trade Le’Veon Bell

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Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell plans to return to the team in less than two weeks. This gives the Steelers more than enough time to rescind the franchise tender, if they are simply ready to move on from him. Per a league source, they don’t intend to.

But they’ll also have a window to trade him, if they’d prefer to simply move on. If Bell returns during Week Seven, the Steelers will be able to move Bell until the window closes on the Tuesday after Week Eight. Per a league source, the Steelers continue to consider the possibility of getting what they can for Bell before the trade deadline.

In assessing what they can get for a partial-year rental of Bell, the Steelers need to consider whether the 2020 compensatory draft pick arising from Bell’s departure would outweigh whatever someone offers for him now. There’s also another factor to consider.

Even though use of the transition tender in 2019 (a third application of the franchise tag costs at least $25 million) would give the Steelers only a right to match an offer sheet and no compensation, they could match an offer sheet signed under the transition tender and then promptly trade Bell to the team that signed him to the offer sheet.

“If a Club exercises its Right of First Refusal and matches an Offer Sheet, that Club may not trade that player to the Club that submitted the Offer Sheet for at least one calendar year, unless the player consents to such trade,” the labor deal states regarding the procedures for matching offers.

So the Steelers could: (1) welcome Bell back for the balance of 2018; (2) apply the transition tag to him in 2019 (at a 20-percent increase over his actual earnings in 2018, the transition tender would be as much as $11.29 million); (3) make it quietly known that the Steelers intend to match any offer but are willing to match and trade; (4) secure Bell’s consent to that procedure; (5) wait for someone to sign Bell to an offer sheet; (6) match the offer sheet; and (7) trade Bell to the team that signed him to an offer sheet. (The Steelers also could match the offer sheet and trade Bell to a different team; his consent would not be required, although it’s hard to imagine a team trading for Bell if he doesn’t want to play for that team.)

A transition-tag-and-trade approach wouldn’t be easy, but it would definitely be doable. And it’s another dynamic for the Steelers to consider as they try to figure out how to proceed with a player about whom they seemingly have become ambivalent.

32 responses to “Steelers don’t plan to rescind franchise tender, but could still trade Le’Veon Bell

  1. What happens if a team offer sheets him, Steelers match, and that team refuses to trade back for him? Steelers could be stuck with him at a price they would never otherwise pay. Teams should just tell the Steelers that they won’t give up any trade compensation no matter what if the Steelers match an offer sheet.

  2. Rescinding the tag would be a bad look for the owners vs the players union, no way it happens. That being said I imagine they are doing everything they can to trade him

  3. Steelers and Tomlin are a disaster. They’ll never go that far. Too much drama. They’re like the Housewives Shows.

  4. What teams have to consider is the last time Bell held out it took him a month to regain his former playing shape. Trading for a player who has to go through a training camp and pre season in one month is not worth the price.

  5. doubleogator says:
    October 6, 2018 at 10:49 am
    It’s distractions like this that lead to losing seasons…
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    Get rid of the franchise tag and you won’t have these “distractions”. Do like all other sports. Either you can sign the player to a contract or you let him walk. A player who has played out his contract shouldn’t be held hostage by one team.

  6. Last year Bell wasn’t in top condition and it took him a few games to get into peak form.
    He probably will need a few games to get back into shape this year too.

    The question for the Steelers is: Would having Bell back give them a good shot at the playoffs? If no, then consider a trade. If yes, keep him.

    The Steelers won’t be getting a comp pick for Bell because they will be signing free agents.

  7. If they lose to Atlanta they should rescind it. No sense paying all that money to Bell and not making the playoffs.

  8. Rate This
    tittmouse says:
    October 6, 2018 at 11:06 am
    Rescinding the tag would be a bad look for the owners vs the players union, no way it happens. That being said I imagine they are doing everything they can to trade him

    Not sure I agree. During the off-season, sure. After sitting out games during the regular season, probably not. I actually think Bell would welcome the tag being removed because he would immediately become a free agent and could negotiate a long term deal. One might even argue that the goal of sitting out is to pressure the team into removing the tag.

  9. He really can’t be traded. No team is going to give up more then a 4 (maybe a desperate team a 3). The Steelers will get a 3 in a comp pick. So why trade him for a 4 when you can ride him for 10 games th3n get a 3 for him.

  10. “In assessing what they can get for a partial-year rental of Bell”

    The one season rental myth keeps getting pushed. A trading team can transition tag Bell and match any offers during the off season, so they would still have full control over Bell. The Steelers should be negotiating with teams for full value with this fact in mind.

  11. Steelers got cute with their thinking, thought they could just franchise him without signing him to a fair contract. I would not play for them again if I was Bell, he could get seriously hurt the first game and be done. Bell should just sit out, he does not owe them anything. He fulfilled his contract. It’s the steelers that are trying to screw him.

  12. Why hang on to a guy that has been a distraction from day one? The other question is what would another team be willing to give up for him? He’s shown what a selfish player he is.

  13. Whatever they do they should not pull the tag. That would just reward him for his lousy behavior.

  14. Why? They should just be happy to be rid of him. If they do that he’s not going to be happy with the transition tag and he’ll probably pout some more. Like another poster mentioned, what if the other team doesn’t want to trade for him after signing the offer sheet. The Steelers would then be stuck with him at a salary they likely don’t want to pay. Of course another team could sign him with a big enough contract they wouldn’t match it.

    How much would a team realistically be willing to give up in a trade for him? It’s possible they could get a second-round pick but more likely it would be a third-round pick, or worse. Why go through all the hassle when you can just let him go after this season and get a third-round compensatory pick for him?

    Nobody really knows what will happen and I’m tired of hearing about this guy. Nothing is going to make him happy so just part ways.

  15. The Steelers have been incredibly stubborn here. What exactly do they think they are going to get here? A happy and productive player? Something more than a 2nd round pick? Nope and they have no running game. That Connor thing was a facad.

  16. If I had Bell’s talent, instead of holding out for more dough, I’d settle for the head coach giving me pedicures and the trainers handing me Haagen-Dazs Popsicles when I snap my fingers.

  17. Seems inconceivable that any team is going to sign him to an offer sheet for the kind of deal he seems to be looking for AND give up further assets to effect a trade from the Steelers. The combined cash plus pick/player price would likely be absurd.
    No logical reason for the player to agree to such an arrangement if the pick/player element of it would meant a lesser cash return than he would have received without that element.

  18. How much would it cost the Steelers to ” (4) secure Bell’s consent to that procedure;” because I don’t see Bell doing them any favors

  19. steelercrazy says:
    October 6, 2018 at 1:26 pm
    “In assessing what they can get for a partial-year rental of Bell”

    The one season rental myth keeps getting pushed. A trading team can transition tag Bell and match any offers during the off season, so they would still have full control over Bell. The Steelers should be negotiating with teams for full value with this fact in mind.

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    Shocking a Steeler fan trying to push a narrative to get full value out of a player they are trying to trade. The only teams capable of doing this is a playoff bound-RB needed team with a allot of cap space. witch narrows your trade partners. The rest of the teams will just wait till 2019 when they can sign Bell without giving any compensation to your team.

  20. redclaw1314 says:
    October 6, 2018 at 6:39 pm
    The Bell situation will get very interesting if the Steelers lose to the Falcons this weekend.
    —————————————————————————————–
    Now that the Steelers have beaten the Falcons and Conner had another big game, I think that makes this situation even more interesting than if the Falcons had won.

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