Oh the plans they are a-changin’.
Exactly two weeks after reporting that the Steelers have “no plan” to trade running back Le’Veon Bell, Adam Schefter of ESPN now reports that the Steelers are listening to trade offers for the franchise-tagged tailback.
A willingness to listen to trade offers is the first step in what would be a complicated process. Before Bell could be traded, he’d have to sign with the Steelers. And he has made it clear he’s not interested in signing a franchise tender that pays him $855,000 per week.
So what could be done? Despite the common misconception that the inability to sign Le’Veon Bell to a long-term deal means that it’s the franchise tender or nothing for 2018, Bell could actually sign for more than the base rate of his tender. To get him to sign and show up, what will it take?
For any team that wants him, the question becomes what does Bell want and what does the Steelers want? Both must be satisfied before a trade could happen.
And even then, the new team would have Bell only through the end of the regular season, with the ability to apply the franchise tender (at the quarterback number) or the transition tag in 2019. So what would a new team give up now for a rest-of-season rental of Bell, along with the exclusive ability to negotiate with him before the deadline arrives for tagging him.