Steelers still hopeful of trading Le'Veon Bell before deadline, contrary to reports
Art Rooney's comments were not a reflection of any change in the RB's availability
The Pittsburgh Steelers remain very open to trading running back Le'Veon Bell ahead of Tuesday's deadline, despite some reports to the contrary. Owner Art Rooney's comments to NFL Media last week that he "expects" Bell to be on their roster were not a reflection of any change in the running back's availability and, in full context, were more a reflection of the lack of inquiries on Bell at that point.
Rooney gave his front office authority to execute a trade of the All Pro and that remains the case. At the time Rooney spoke briefly to NFL Media at the recent owner's meetings, his sentiment about not expecting a trade were based only on the fact that other teams had not made recent inquires, though historically trades of this magnitude are not completed until much closer to the deadline itself.
As we have been reporting, it's been assumed by many within the Steelers organization that Bell would not sign his franchise tag until after Tuesday's trade deadline. The team is still hopeful of finding a suitor for him and landing a third-round pick or better, sources said, though Bell would have to facilitate that by being willing to sign the franchise tender for that new team prior to 4 p.m. ET Tuesday.
The Eagles line up as the most likely option, though injuries to other running backs on contending teams could reshape Bell's market ahead of the deadline.
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