Le’Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers appear headed for a breakup. After initially saying the team would not be open to trading Bell, it looks like Pittsburgh has reached a breaking point.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the team is now listening to calls from opposing teams. Schefter emphasized the team is in the exploratory stage of the process. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport called a potential trade “complicated but not impossible.”
“The Steelers have received a few inquiries from teams looking to trade for franchised RB Le’Veon Bell, and they have not shot those down as they once did. A trade would be very complicated, but not impossible. Expect this to heat up as the trade deadline gets closer,” Rapoport tweeted.
Part of the complication is finding a team that has the cap space and is willing to take on Bell’s more than $14 million salary. The other tricky part is Bell is on the final year of his deal, and the new team would have to negotiate a new contract with the running back after the trade. The new team could potentially lose Bell after this season if they did not come to an agreement.
Le’Veon Bell Held an Album Release Party in Miami During Week 2 of the NFL Season
While Bell is holding out from reporting to the Steelers, this has not stopped the running back from making other public appearances. TMZ reported Bell was seen riding jet skis last weekend before his album release party at Rockwell Nightclub in Miami.
Le’Veon Bell can still put on a show during his holdout … taking the stage for his rap project release party … and TMZ Sports has the video!!
The NFL superstar is staying busy during his time away from the Steelers … hitting up Rockwell Nightclub in South Beach to celebrate his “My Side of Things” EP, right after getting in some jet ski cruising earlier in the day.
If Bell is trying to force the Steelers hand to trade him, it appears it may be working.
The Bucs, Jets & Colts Have All Been Rumored as Potential Suitors For Bell
Pittsburgh is now listening to trade offers for the All-Pro running back while he remains away from the team with an unsigned franchise tag, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
When Bell didn’t show for Week 1, sources said the Steelers planned to stand pat with no plans to rescind his $14.5 million tag or trade him. Bell wants a new contract and is unhappy with being tagged for the second straight year, so he has stayed in South Florida as the Steelers began the season 0-1-1.
Bell forfeits $852,941 per week — or one-seventeenth of the total tag number — each week he fails to show up, and it’s become clear Bell has no intention of showing up soon. In the last week, Bell has been spotted on jet skis, on a yacht and at a nightclub for his album release.
The Jets Have Called the Steelers About Trading for Bell
ESPN’s Rich Cimini reported the Jets have called the Steelers about a potential trade for Bell. The report indicates the call came since Shefter’s report on Sunday that the team was open for business. Here’s how ESPN described the nature of the calls between the Steelers and Jets.
The New York Jets contacted the Pittsburgh Steelers to inquire about disgruntled running back Le’Veon Bell, a source confirmed Monday.
It was described as a preliminary conversation with no offer, one source said. The Steelers are willing to trade Bell, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday.
The Jets are known for performing due diligence whenever a high-profile player becomes available. Most times it amounts to nothing more than a passing interest — such was the case with wide receiver Josh Gordon — but they did make an offer three weeks ago for pass-rusher Khalil Mack.