The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to let running back Le’Veon Bell test free agency this offseason uncontested.
On Wednesday, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said that the organization will not use the transition tag on Bell this year.
GM Kevin Colbert said the #Steelers will not use the transition tag on Le’Veon Bell. It had been seen as a potential option for the teamto try to get a pick in the ’19 draft for Bell, but that now has been ruled out.
— Bob Labriola (@BobLabriola) February 20, 2019
Bell, who the Steelers gave the franchise tag to the last two offseasons, will undoubtedly be allowed to test free agency come the start of the new league year in March and that means he’ll likely sign a very lucrative contract with a different team.
By letting Bell walk off via free agency the Steelers will acquire some level of compensatory draft pick value for 2020 in the process. Should, however, the Steelers be very active in signing more expensive outside unrestricted free agents this offseason, it could completely cancel out them losing Bell as far as the compensatory draft pick formula goes.
Bell, who was selected originally by the Steelers in the second-round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Michigan State, chose to sit out the entire 2018 season instead of signing the $14.544 million franchise tag that was tendered him.
By letting Bell leave uncontested this offseason it also shows that the organization also has faith that their other two primary running backs on the roster, James Conner and Jaylen Samuels, can both combine to carry the load moving forward.