Report: Steelers don’t expect to see Le’Veon Bell this week

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On Monday, running back Le'Veon Bell said goodbye to Miami. He reportedly won’t be saying hello to Pittsburgh this week.

Via Adam Schefter and Jeremy Fowler of, the Steelers do not expect the holdout tailback to report before Thursday night’s game against the Panthers.

If Bell doesn’t show up by next Tuesday, he can’t play at all in 2018. Which would create a different set of rights and responsibilities for 2019, as to both the Steelers and Bell.

There’s a growing belief Bell won’t show up at all in 2018. If that happens, the Steelers would be able to re-tag him again in 2019, at the same $14.54 million franchise tender that was applied in 2018. (If he shows up by next Tuesday, the Steelers would have to offer the quarterback franchise tender in order to tag him for a third time.)

The latest story from ESPN includes an odd quote from an unnamed source regarding the question of whether Bell will show up at all.

“If he doesn’t want to play for $14.5 million, why would he want to play for $5 million?” the unnamed source told ESPN, in reference to the money Bell would make if he shows up by next Tuesday. (Under his current tender, he’d make $5.985 million, subject to two weeks of reduced pay while on roster-exempt status.)

Here’s why he would want to play for up to $5.985 million: If Bell doesn’t show at all, it will be easier for the Steelers to keep him from an unfettered windfall on the first day of free agency.

Apparently, there’s been a misconception at ESPN regarding the details of Bell’s status, as evidenced by a final paragraph to the current story, which declares that “Bell does not have to report to the Steelers by a certain date to get an accrued season to become eligible for free agency, contrary to what ESPN and others previously reported.”

Hey, ESPN, don’t lump the rest of us in with your mistake. Of course Bell doesn’t need an accrued season to be eligible for free agency. Still, his opportunity to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019 hinges on fulfilling the minimum requirements of the second year of the franchise tag (i.e., by showing up before next Tuesday), forcing the Steelers to offer upwards of $25 million, if they choose to apply the franchise tag a third time in 2019. (The Steelers can still apply the transition tag in 2019, but we’ve already pointed out that this is an essentially meaningless option.)

So that’s where it stands. Bell can show up by Tuesday and force the Steelers to let him hit the market on day one of free agency (subject to the ultimately meaningless transition tag) or not show up by Tuesday and risk having the Steelers apply the franchise tag again next year, at $14.54 million.

Some think the Steelers would do just that, as a precursor to trading Bell to a new team — and guiding him away from a team like the Ravens.

60 responses to “Report: Steelers don’t expect to see Le’Veon Bell this week

  1. Yeah Le’Veon. Stay away the rest of the year. You’re absolutely right with what you’re doing! Stick with it!

    Every James Connor owner in Fantasy Football

  2. I doubt anyone would sign him for squat if he just sits out the while season. Think he was already on downward trend last year as his YPA was 4.0 and his YPC had fallen. He has little value to the Steelers now other than he is a second body at a brutal position. He has not performed at a higher level than JC.

  3. Since over 70% of NFL athletes go bankrupt, this is a perfect reason why…
    This money would have been looking good in your account when you are broke at 50 years old mr. Bell…..

  4. I would bet my lunch money he shows up and fulfills all requirements for this years tag. That way he is closer to his qb money he desires so much.

    I love football and understand “billionaires” need to pay millions to keep everyone happen, not saying I would play for free… but 850k USD per week sounds great!

  5. With all that’s been written about the high profile Bell situation its surprising the you and Schefter can agree on the details. For those people not following the situation closely, you seem to imply that the CBA just counts seasons and so that all that Bell has to do is to have signed this year as a second tagged year to get the Quarterback tag next year as his third tagged season.

    On the other hand Shefter argues that each season is dependent on the salary of the prior season and so Bell could actually be tagged next year for less than this year after accounting for his foregone salary.

    I guess we’ll find out soon enough who’s right.

  6. On Bell, Tomlin said “I’d rather have volunteers than hostages.”

    In other words, Bell doesn’t want to be here so why have him here?

    With each week passing, the price of another third round pick for Bell goes down. Almost affordable now. So if he comes, make him inactive (they are already carrying Ridley who would lose his roster spot) and have him as a high price insurance policy for Conner getting hurt or hitting a wall.

  7. I wish I were in the position to sit home and ignore 14.5 million. I do not see why someone would work so hard to play at this level just to sit home over a contract dispute.

  8. In other word, the Steelers aren’t going to let Bell “win”. The Steelers are going to make sure Bell makes it to free agency on their terms, not his.

  9. No matter what he is a few weeks away from football shape. His cardio my be good but double fisting strippers for the past few months does not equal football shape.

  10. .
    The dark horse in the Bell sweepstakes is the Indianapolis Colts. They have over 100 million in cap space next year. With a revamped offensive line and a rejuvenated Andrew Luck, they’re only a solid multipurpose RB and a stud WR from becoming a top tier offense.

  11. At this point, whatever option puts the most screws to Bell, is the best. I hope he goes to a crap team that wins 2 or 3 games a year and never makes the playoffs. Greed!!!

  12. If he shows up on or before Tuesday his franchise tag tender for next year is a multiplier of what he made this year, 5.985 million – not the tag amount he could have played for this year. So it would be somewhere in the range of 11 million. Which is laughingly less than he would have made this year. Just more evidence that he wildly misplayed his hand this year.

  13. At this point, I’d like to see the Steelers reach a tacit, behind the scenes agreement with Bell to just stay away all season, with a promise not to tag him again, let him go in free-agency, and get a compensatory pick for him. He’s not wanted or needed in Pittsburgh anymore.

  14. If he doesn’t show up, it makes no sense. To try to force the Steeler’s hand next year? They will just put a transition tag on him & if he does sign with someone else at a reasonable salary they’ll just match it. Who advised him of this strategy? It would have been smarter for him to show up all year then fake hamstring & ankle injuries. This approach makes no sense.

  15. He’ll show before Week 10. Question is if he’ll be played.

    Doesn’t sound like he’s wanted back by literally anyone.

  16. If he even shows this year they need to put him on the exempt list for two weeks and transition tag him next year.

    I’d put him in the slot as the #3 WR for the rest of this season and let Connor do his thing.

  17. I’d make him pass a spelling test and a piss test before he gets to sign that franchise tag. Fairwell or Farewell LOL

  18. I think I’m pretty safe in saying, and after all the hoopla, the Steelers are not going to blink. If Bell thinks he’s going to force them into just letting him go, he’s mistaken. Also, it’s not a case of the mean ol’ Steelers ruining his life, they have something at stake in this deal too.

  19. Steelers are smarter than to tag him again. I think the point is proven. Regardless of if he shows up or not, no tag of any kind would be applied to Bell.

  20. Wait. ESPN got a story wrong? I’m shocked, SHOCKED I tell you. I’m surprised they still cover football seeing all they seem to care about is LeBron and the Lakers 24/7 since that sham sport’s season started a couple weeks ago.

  21. I’m genuinely curious, do any Steeler fans even want him to come back at this point? It’s hard to think of a reason why they would want him anymore.

  22. I’m genuinely curious, do any Steeler fans even want him to come back at this point? It’s hard to think of a reason why they would want him anymore.
    Because he is a great RB and Conner could get hurt at any moment. So yes it would be good to have him back.

  23. 8oneanddones says:
    November 6, 2018 at 9:16 am
    I’m genuinely curious, do any Steeler fans even want him to come back at this point?
    This Steelers fan does. The way for Conner and Bell to coexist is for Bell to take Ryan Switzer’s role in the offense. Switzer gets about 15 snaps a game, and has been used as a guy who can line up in the slot and in the backfield. That would allow the Steelers to find a use for Bell without cutting into Conner’s role.

  24. The whole thing has become tiresome from week 1. Conner is the man and they should stick with him for the year. He’s earned it. As much as I like Le’veon Bell back on the team. He’s caused nothing but distractions. Either hurry up and sign and contribute or let the team know your sitting out for the year.

  25. The longer he holds out at this point:
    1. The less $ he consumes vs the cap,
    2. The opportunity to play for Bell is getting RIDICULOUSLY small as the team will hit him with the ‘roster exempt’ approach for two weeks. There are only eight weeks left and that leaves six weeks where he can shine for prospective FA hiring teams.

    The idea of re-tagging and trading Bell at the start of next offseason has got to be attractive to the Steelers. But then again they would likely get a 3rd round pick for Bell when he leaves via compensation.

    I don’t see how the Steelers can lose at this point. Their only Jeopardy was gone once Conner showed up and played the way he has.

    Bell on the other hand now has little to gain and risks injury as well as $7.4M lost in wages. Wait, perhaps BELLS AGENT is the big loser here!!

  26. What the heck is Bell thinking?
    He’s not getting injured and he’s not getting 14 million?
    He lost big time.
    If he doesn’t play at all in 2018 then the Steelers can tag him again.

    For those who say he’ll be traded, for what? Who will pay him and give up a lot of draft picks for him?
    If the best the Steelers are offered is a 3rd round pick then tag him and take the compensatory pick.

    Is a team going to give up a 2nd round pick, and have to over pay Bell who will be 27?

    Bell should have reported at the start of the season, he avoided injury risk in pre-season, which is not trivial.

    He screwed himself.

  27. Why would the steelers want him anyway? He’s just gonna protect himself until he gets to whatever team is gonna give him the big contract. Can you trust him? Conner is playing great and Bell’s teamates are sick of his act. The only thing to gain for the steelers now is a draft pick.

  28. Amazing he is going to pass up on 15 mil this season only to find out that its likely the Steelers scheme and surroundings that made him so successful. I find it hard to believe another team is going to give him more than the 30 mil guaranteed that the Steelers were going to give him

  29. The best RBs in the 2019 draft will come way cheaper than Bell plus most of them won’t have the injury or pot history that Bell has.
    Bell and his agent failed, spectacularly, on many levels in this fiasco.

    Why can’t players just be happy with what they make in the NFL knowing full well that with their degree (if any)that they would make $30-40k MAX if they were not playing football?
    Instead players today overvalue themselves and the typical result is the players losing their career and reputation.
    Guess what players? Your agent ALREADY has his degree and a career! Outside of football, you (the player) have nothing in terms of a career.

  30. Why all the haters? The Steelers don’t care about him. He’s just trying to get his last big pay day Guaranteed $$. The difference is about 80million from the tag to a contract. You haters would do the same thing. No ones gonna take care of him if he gets hurt.

  31. That’s $14.5 million he’s never going to see again. He isn’t getting any younger, it’s been demonstrated that he doesn’t perform any better than his replacements, and he seems kind of annoying. What team is going to give him more than $7 million next year? He’d be lucky to get that.

  32. “Bell does not have to report to the Steelers by a certain date to get an accrued season to become eligible for free agency, contrary to what ESPN and others previously reported.”

    It’s funny how many people in sports media don’t understand the CBA. I made a comment on this site a week ago stating Bell does NOT have to report and got 100 down votes. Thank you someone for getting it right!

  33. I come to bury Le’Veon, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interrèd with their bones.

    While as a fan I am happy to pile on against Bell’s “me first” attitude, the NFL is a win-now business. The Steelers should welcome Bell back with open arms for the playoff drive. RBs get hurt all the time. Conner suffered a season-ending injury just last year. Why wouldn’t any team want two quality backs on its roster and fresh legs for cold weather football? If he isn’t in shape, you apply the roster exemption. If he isn’t a motivated participant, you keep him on the bench. But Bell has every reason to showcase himself to his next team and a motivated Bell is a welcome addition.

  34. The way for Conner and Bell to coexist is for Bell to take Ryan Switzer’s role in the offense

    Best tell Bell then that to be successful in the league you need to secure the ball when given the opportunity. That punt “return” a couple weeks back sums up Switzer to a T. Mind totally out in left field.

  35. singer1977 says:
    November 6, 2018 at 10:18 am
    Why all the haters? The Steelers don’t care about him. He’s just trying to get his last big pay day Guaranteed $$. The difference is about 80million from the tag to a contract. You haters would do the same thing. No ones gonna take care of him if he gets hurt.


    He gets hate because he is being monumentally stupid. His best shot at getting paid was an extension. His next best shot is playing out his tag and then being a free agent.

    In simple math, the difference between what he will earn as a free agent having hardly played this year vs a year of full workload is nowhere near as high as the salary he has given up sitting out.

  36. He needs the accrued season to get a higher tag salary (QB tag price) for next year

    One thing many are forgetting when discussing the compensatory draft picks is this — those picks can vanish if you’ve signed free agents the same year. It’s been reported that the Steelers are “in the hole” for this year’s calculus by having signed Bostic, Burnett and Berhe. So, apparently if he signs as a free agent this season ( for instance by Steelers rescinding the tag now), they’ll get nothing in terms of compensatory picks

  37. I believe that he doesn’t actually need the accrued season for the QB franchise tag. The CBA is very clear that a player that has the franchise tag applied 3 times is eligible for the QB tag price. It doesn’t have to be signed 3 times. If the Steelers apply it again it will be the third time the tag is applied to Bell.

  38. Dearest LaVerne LaBelle,

    Had you been smart enough to comprehend reality, I’d have recommended that you take the overpriced offer of $14.5 million and then to take proceeds of that and get an insurance policy that protects you for a career-ending injury.

    Be smart.

    Hope you fail.

  39. omeimontis says:
    November 6, 2018 at 10:54 am
    Dumb Bell

    Surprised it took so long to see this comment. Well done, sir

  40. Bell should have signed the$70 million multi year contract the Steelers offered. Talk about overplaying your hand. Passes on $70 million and the security it brought then sits out passing on $10 million so far. That’s money he’ll never get back.

  41. If anyone should “hate” Bell it is me who made the wise decision to draft him #1 instead of Gurley. However, although it annoys me what he has done I am hoping he comes back and does well.

    The few times I have seen him play I was quite impressed. I don’t understand why many of you despise the man so much.

  42. jman967,

    Florio has mentioned many times Bell would receive the QB tender as it would be his 3rd time being tagged so your comment is dead wrong. I don’t understand why so many people liked your comment.

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