Steelers reportedly readying transition tag for Le'Veon Bell, want to find a trade for star RB

Antonio Brown continues to push for a trade out of Pittsburgh, but he's not the only Steelers star who will presumably be moving on at some point this offseason. Don't forget about Le'Veon Bell, who elected to sit out all of last season in the hopes of keeping himself healthy in order to break the bank in free agency this winter. But things might not be so simple for Bell.  

The Steelers are potentially going to use the transition tag on Bell, according to a report from Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The transition tag would allow the Steelers to match any deal Bell signs on the free-agent market, but that's not actually the plan for the Steelers, according to Dulac.

The Steelers might still place the transition tag on running back Le'Veon Bell, but it is likely with the intention of trading him and not because they want him for another season, according to sources.

NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported back in November that the Steelers informed Bell they planned to use the transition tag on him, and reported further about Bell's transition tag situation on Super Bowl Sunday. The issue with this strategy is that it requires the cooperation of Bell, who would have to sign the transition tag in order to facilitate the trade. Given the way that relationship has developed over the past few years, that seems rather unlikely. A more likely result is the Steelers eventually just rescinding the tag and allowing Bell to sign elsewhere so they can get a compensatory pick in 2020. 

Bell should have plenty of suitors for his services, and presumably stands to benefit from the Browns' signing of Kareem Hunt, which took a running back off the market but did not fill a potential starting role on a team that was in need of a back. He's still in the prime of his career and he's still healthy, and the Steelers already have their back of the future in James Conner. All signs point to Bell playing elsewhere, whether the Steelers employ the transition tag or not. 

Le'Veon Bell's not the only big-name Steeler who could be changing teams. Listen to Will Brinson and Sean Wagner-McGough break down possible Antonio Brown trades and all the latest NFL news and notes on the Pick Six Podcast.

CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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