Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said Wednesday that the team wouldn't use the transition tag on Bell, who thus becomes a free agent March 13 at the beginning of the new league year, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Despite rumors to the contrary, it never made much sense for Pittsburgh to use the tag, as doing so would have left the team at risk of losing Bell without any compensation. The 27-year-old will now be part of the compensatory draft pick formula for 2020, likely bring the Steelers a selection at the end of the third or fourth round. Even after sitting out the entire 2018 season, Bell should have his own price range among the free-agent class of running backs. Mark Ingram, Tevin Coleman, Jay Ajayi (knee), Latavius Murray, C.J. Anderson and Adrian Peterson are the other big names available.

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