The Pittsburgh Steelers are reportedly listening to offers for running back Le’Veon Bell, as the Steelers have realized that it’s finally time to part ways with the talented all-purpose back.
Although the Pittsburgh Steelers are 0-1-1 in two games without Le’Veon Bell at running back, James Conner has given the team sufficient production both on the ground and through the air.
Due to Conner’s production, the Steelers can feel more confident about moving on without Bell’s services, which is likely why ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that Pittsburgh is open to fielding trade offers.
Bell is currently under the franchise tag, but he has held out of the Steelers first three regular season games. The star back would like to receive more guaranteed money on a long-term deal than what the Steelers are looking to give in return, and Bell seems to be looking to set a new precedent at the running back position.
Furthermore, because Bell regularly runs for over 1,200 yards and catches 75+ passes in a season, he views himself as more than just a running back. His profound impact on the passing game has led Bell to argue that he should earn more money that other running backs.
Any team interested in trading for Bell would have to worry about negotiating with both the Steelers and Bell, who has obviously been driving a hard bargain. If enough teams are interested, Bell could get what he wants, or he could just be forced to sit or be in an unideal situation before hitting free agency in 2019.
Bell is in a precarious position, but he may have options now that the Steelers are fed up with rostering someone who doesn’t seem to be interested in playing. Players on the Steelers offensive line voiced their displeasure with Bell’s holdout, and the fact that Bell has apparently alienated himself to his teammates just makes it easier for Pittsburgh to listen to offers.
Whether or not they get anything of value remains to be seen. Veteran players rarely get fair value on the trading block, and this will probably be even more applicable to an expensive running back like Bell, who would need a new contract in order to be worth trading for.
There’s no doubt that Bell is one of the most talented players on offense in the NFL, and he’s been an asset for the Steelers. But the Steelers have a capable replacement in Conner, and it doesn’t seem like they will get anything out of Bell by keeping him around. Listening to trade offers is an easy option for Pittsburgh, because the best-case scenario is that they end up getting something decent in exchange for a disgruntled star.