Steelers won’t use any tag on Le’Veon Bell

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Running back Le'Veon Bell will be a totally unrestricted free agent come March 13.

There’s been speculation since last season that the Steelers might use a transition tag on Bell in hopes of getting better compensation back than they might wind up in line for through the compensatory draft pick system. That would have involved a lot of jumping through hoops, including Bell’s willingness to sign the tag and let the Steelers trade him after two years of acrimony because of franchise tags.

None of that jumping will be required because General Manager Kevin Colbert quashed that theory on Wednesday.

“Le’Veon is still a great player,” Colbert said, via Jeremy Fowler of “We can’t afford to use any other type of tags. Le’Veon will be an unrestricted free agent at the start of the new league year.”

Bell’s agent can start talking to teams on March 11 and the No. 7 free agent on PFT’s annual list probably won’t be waiting long to hear from teams interested in getting him on the field for the first time since 2017. Whether those teams are looking to pay what Bell was hoping to get from the Steelers will be a big storyline in the early days of free agency.

34 responses to “Steelers won’t use any tag on Le’Veon Bell

  1. Some very foolish GM will give Bell what he wants in terms of salary, and they’ll end up being very, very sorry. Wait and see.

  2. Steelers normally are pretty good about how they run their team but they really messed up there. They could have let him walk last year and he would have signed a sizable contract giving them a possible 3rd round compensatory pick. Now his stock is less and he won’t be signing as big of a contract giving less for these extra picks. What did franchising him last year bring you other than a distraction?

  3. Le’Veon got ripped by fans and media all season but he won this holdout. Steelers missed the playoffs and he’s healthy and about to get paid. And he’ll get more than the $10 million fully guaranteed the Steelers offered. Good for him.

  4. How many seasons, how much per season, and how much guaranteed money any guesses out there???

    4 years….. 13.5 million per year…….40 million guarnteed

  5. I think the Steelers know they would look bad if they trade Brown and tag Bell. Smart to just move on.

  6. Of course the Steelers declined to use the transition tag on Bell. The media did Bell’s agents work for him by doing multiple articles on sign & trade and how “oppressive” any use of the tag would be if used on Bell.
    Therefore the media is working on behalf of Bell.
    If I were the Steelers I’d slap the tag on him anyway and make my case through my own media outlet since the rest of the media will spin it whatever way they want.
    IMO Bell is a loser, he is simply a pass catching version of Rashard Mendenhall.

  7. As a Steelers fan, I hate to continue to bring up New England, but boy, i sure wish we used the same common sense they do when dealing with a star player.

    New England traded Chandler Jones, Brandin Cooks, and Jimmy Garappolo. Instead the Steelers wait to get compensatory picks. we did the same with Mike Wallace, now Bell. If you know you can’t sign the player, trade them and get a high pick. Bell would have gone for a 1 round pick, now we would be lucky if we even get a compensatory pick for losing him.

    It’s bad enough that management let Ben go on the radio and bash players and coaches, or they cut Brown so much slack, not getting great value for top players is a shame and stupid.

  8. Don’t worry, Le’Veon. Steelers fans may hate you now, but you’ll always have Cris Collinsworth‘s undying love on commentary.

  9. Bye Leveon, see ya…..Steelers will get that 3rd round pick. Meanwhile we can all laugh which team overpays him who doesn’t have a equivalent line of the Steelers.

  10. Steelers could not have anticipated Bell sitting out the whole season. In hindsight they probably would have let him go last season, but he gave zero indication he would pull the stunt he did last year. Either way they are still going to walk away with a 3rd round comp and in the end they were able to roll the 14.5 million back into this years cap. They also can be confident in their run game of Connors and Samuel going into this year being as effective or more effective than Bell.
    Make no mistake. The offense last year was by any statistical measure, better without Bell.

  11. chickensalad43 says: “Le’Veon got ripped by fans and media all season but he won this holdout. Steelers missed the playoffs and he’s healthy and about to get paid.”

    He won the holdout by not earning $15m? That’s $15m he’s never getting back so you have a strange idea of what “winning” is.

    As for the Steelers, James Conner gave them the same Pro-Bowl production at 1/20th ($750k) of the price. And if you actually watched any football, you would’ve known that offense was not the problem in Pittsburgh as they were the 4th-ranked offense in the league.

  12. I think the number of teams interested in him will be limited when you consider his salary demands. Teams should take note also that they barely missed a beat when they replaced him with James Conner. Some team will give him a truckload of money and before this season is over will regret it.

  13. The Steelers Owners have always been viewed as bully’s to the players. I’m usually more pro millionaire player than billionaire owner so we will probabaly never know for sure what happened behind the scenes but i hope he gets what he wants. I have never seen his style

  14. Im thinking Jets. Indy already has a more than good enough RB for a fration of the cost so they are free to spend their money elsewhere on the team. Which is actually worse news for the rest of the league than if they blow the bank on Bell.

  15. Finally, now we can stop talking about this particular brand of NFL nonsense. Now to see which GM is going to be foolish enough to pay Bell what he wants.

  16. thudsp says:
    February 20, 2019 at 2:27 pm
    The Steelers Owners have always been viewed as bully’s to the players. I’m usually more pro millionaire player than billionaire owner


    I don’t understand this viewpoint. Why does the net worth of the owner matter? You do realize that each team can only spend a fixed amount on all players do you not?

  17. Bell gave up $15M to have a shot as a healthy elite runningback on the open market. Most analyses claim that he will never make up the money, but never take into account the risk of a debilitating or career-ending injury causing a decrease in value leading up to Free Agency. Not saying this is the best decision, but it is an understandable risk-averse strategy by Bell.

  18. Bell gambled and lost last year but that offensive line made other backs like Conner and DeAngelo Williams look good as well. So, teams will have to do their homework and see just how hungry Bell will be, but after losing out on 14 million, I am sure motivation this year wont be a problem.

  19. I ALWAYS support the player. The franchise tag is an anti-American abomination that allows teams to lock elite guys up through their prime while forcing the injury risk onto the player. Total BS. When played under the FT the first time, the Steelers rode Bell like a stolen horse. Look at his number of carries. They showed NO interest in protecting or maximizing his career. He was right to not put himself through that level of risk again for a team that clearly saw him as a near-term consumable item.

    The franchise tag will be a big deal in the next CBA. Bell helped get the players a bit more leverage by shining a bright light on how it can be abused by teams. Best wishes to him. Hope he lands on his feet and wins a championship.

  20. First of all, I doubt he gets paid what he thinks he’s worth. Especially after I saw a photo he posted that appeared to show some pre-rolled joints. Not too smart for a guy, already suspended under the NFL drug policy, looking for a big payday.

  21. Any team that signs Bell should be very wary of him pulling the same kind of stunt in a couple of years that he’s done with the Steelers.

  22. He’s gonna come onto his new team like a fat tub of lard and his YPC will drop behind a weaker line, it’s much more prudent to build the line first and insert a cheap runner and repeat once he gets pricey or injured.

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