Transition tag in 2019 won’t do much for the Steelers

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As Sunday Splash! reports go, this one is like a can opener gone haywire.

Drum roll, please. The Steelers can use the transition tag next year on Le’Veon Bell!

Of course they can. And, of course, his reduced earnings in 2018 would relegate him to the standard transition tag for tailbacks in 2019. And, of course, that would be a much cheaper alternative than the franchise tag if Bell shows up before November 13, gets credit for the contract year, and becomes eligible for the quarterback franchise tender in 2019.

So, fine. The Steelers can use the transition tag on Bell. But what will it get them? A right to match an offer sheet signed elsewhere, and nothing more.

If/when someone like the Jets signs Bell to a front-loaded offer sheet that contains a structure and an amount that the Steelers consistently have refused to extend to Bell, what will the Steelers do? Match out of spite?

At the very most, they’d match the offer sheet and then trade him. But that would be a risky proposition, requiring the kind of advance wink-nod dealmaking in which the Steelers typically won’t engage.

With James Conner still under contract for two more years at cash and cap figures far less than whatever Bell would get elsewhere, the Steelers would be foolish to match the kind of offer sheet Bell is likely to attract. So why even use it in the first place?

To summarize, the Steelers can indeed use the transition tag, even if no one ever doubted their ability to that. Even if they use it, they’ll be in the same position they’d be in if they don’t: Watching Bell walk away with no compensation in 2019, and a potential compensatory draft pick for 2020.

9 responses to “Transition tag in 2019 won’t do much for the Steelers

  1. I believe using the transition tag will make any team pay even more to Bell which may throw off another team’s cap space.

  2. Le’Veon Bell is the biggest fraud in the NFL. Look at the numbers Connor is putting up, and look at the numbers DeAngelo Williams put up when Bell was suspended or injured. It’s the Steelers offensive scheme. Any semi-talented RB will produce.

  3. Personally, I like the transition tag much better than the franchise tag. It allows both team and player to set the value of that player on the open market.

  4. The Steelers will be thanking Bell for his great contributions and wishing him well in the future. How he goes, I do not even guess. But, he will not be a Steeler in 2019 training camp. And,you can bet your house, large or small, on that. Who knows, maybe the league will say “so long” in the meantime.

  5. The money they saved this year alone would make it much easier to pay him a large contract to match whoever tries to sign him. I think it is entirely possible, and it does give them a lot by using it, they can guarantee he doesnt leave. How is that a bad thing?

  6. orb1943 says:
    November 4, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    Sure, but Bell might end-up with the same locker-room allure as Dez – no takers

    Some team will pony up for Bell. It’s insane to think otherwise. Though he may not get the money he thinks he’ll get.

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