Le'Veon Bell Free Agency Update: Steelers won't use tag on RB, who will become unrestricted FA
The Steelers will let Le'Veon Bell walk into free agency according to GM Kevin Colbert
The Steelers are going to rid themselves of one major issue causing drama by somewhat surprisingly not using either the franchise tag or transition tag on running back Le'Veon Bell, GM Kevin Colbert said on Wednesday.
It was widely believedthis offseason, with the Steelers wanting to secure the running back's services for one more season or, more likely, use the transition tag as a method of orchestrating a trade.
Colbert said the team "can't afford" to use any tags as it moves forward and that he will be an unrestricted free agent when the league year kicks off.
This is a massive victory for Bell and his agent, after a year whereon the franchise tag for the second straight season. The Steelers played chicken with Bell all offseason, ultimately culminating with the back's refusal to report before the season, a move that caught many people in the organization off guard.
Pittsburgh hoped he would show up at some point and even made a late pitch to him thaton him this offseason. Bell stood his ground and skipped the whole season, believing he should be free to test the open market. Bell and his agent also and not be punished by the CBA, .
Now he will -- with Pittsburgh not using the transition or franchise tag on him, Bell will be able to sign with any team once the new league year begins. The question will be whether or not he can recoup the lost $14 million he would have received last year on a one-year tender playing for the Steelers.
Bell willand could very well end up commanding a massive contract. There are teams who are interested in his services.
The Jets are widely believed to be the top option in that category, but the 49ers and Raiders could certainly come knocking as well.
Running backs have an interesting history on the open market. It hasn't been prudent to sign older backs (27 years or more) to longer deals. Bell might be the exception, as he's a game-changing playmaker who is the best pass-catching running back in the NFL when he's healthy and on the field.
No one has seen him in a while though. Unlike his teammate Antonio Brown, Bell's been keeping quiet throughout the last several months.
Bell turned 27 years old just days ago, so he's still in his athletic prime. And now, for the first time in his career, he gets to try and cash in on his contractual freedom as a player.
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