Reports: Steelers 'actively shopping' Le'Veon Bell, who could be hurting 2019 salary

Shalise Manza YoungYahoo Sports Columnist
Yahoo Sports

We are now at Week 4 of the NFL regular season, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are still playing without star running back Le’Veon Bell.

After reports last week that the Steelers were fielding trade offers for Bell, there are new reports that Pittsburgh is actively seeking a trade partner – and that Bell sitting at home might be costing him more than salary for this season.

Second-round pick and a player

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NFL Network reported on Sunday that the Steelers are actively seeking teams who might want to trade for Bell, and that the team is looking for a second-round draft pick and a “good” player in return.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are reportedly actively looking for a potential trade partner to deal Le’Veon Bell. (AP)
The Pittsburgh Steelers are reportedly actively looking for a potential trade partner to deal Le’Veon Bell. (AP)

That is a high price, and asking for a player in return makes things even more complicated: you can never have too many good players, but Pittsburgh will likely want a say in which player it gets, and most teams aren’t going to part with just any key guy, even to get a stellar one back.

The trade deadline is Oct. 30 at 4 p.m. ET.

Bell could be affecting 2019 salary too

As the Steelers’ designated franchise player, Bell was offered a one-year, fully guaranteed pact for $14.5 million, or 120 percent of the $12.12 million he received on the tag last year.

Since he hasn’t signed it yet, he’s losing $853,000 a week by sitting out. Bell believes it’s worth it to save his body the 25 or so collisions he’d be subjected to each week.

But he could be severely affecting his 2019 salary too.

As noted by ESPN, any team that acquires Bell is under no obligation to sign him to the long-term contract Bell wants and, really, has earned. It could slap the transition tag on two-time All-Pro, and Bell would make even less than he was initially slated to make this year.

If Bell reports to the Steelers on Monday, he’ll earn $11.12 million for the final 13 weeks of the regular season (players are paid over 17 weeks). His transition tag for 2019 therefore would represent 120 percent of that number, which is $13.346 million – over $1 million less than he was slated to earn this year had he reported to the team at the start of the regular season.

That number would get smaller for every week Bell stays away.

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