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 ESPN.com. “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.