Le’Veon Bell made a pretty surprising claim today, saying the Pittsburgh Steelers were one of several teams inquiring about him prior to this week’s trade deadline.
He appeared on Sirius Radio’s 17 Weeks, a podcast hosted by Jalen Ramsey, Cole Beasley, and Bell, to talk about trade rumors that swirled about. He confirmed the rumors were true and rattled off the teams who came calling.
“I found out through my agent he had talked to the Jets and there were teams like Houston, the Packers, the Kansas City Chiefs,” Bell said. “And surprisingly the Steelers were all in the mix in trying to trade for me.”
If the link to the podcast doesn’t work, you can hear the comments via FS1’s Speak For Yourself, at about the one minute mark.
It’s unknown how close the Steelers were to doing a deal and ultimately, Bell remained a Jet.
Bell has struggled in New York this season running behind a patchwork offensive line, a revolving door at quarterback, and an offense that’s struggled to get him the football. Signing Bell to a long-term deal reportedly wasn’t head coach Adam Gase’s idea. That was driven by then GM Mike Maccagnan who was fired by the team on May 15th, two months after Bell inked his four year, $52 million deal.
Pittsburgh never wanted to lose Bell. The only reason why he left was to seek a top-market deal and structure that would be more player-friendly than what the Steelers traditionally offer. With him receiving less money on the market, and any guaranteed money in a trade counting against the Jets, not the acquiring team, it makes sense the Steelers would still have some level of interest.
Chalk it up to another attempt of Kevin Colbert being aggressive. This year, he’s already traded up for Devin Bush and sent next year’s first rounder for Minkah Fitzpatrick. How close was he on getting Bell back in black and gold? We’ll probably never know though it’s fair to assume the Steelers had less draft capital to work with than the other teams Bell mentioned in the podcast.
And if the Jets do ultimately trade Bell, which seems likely to happen at some point in the relative near future? Pittsburgh might come calling again.