It appears the Pittsburgh Steelers will officially put an end to the Le’Veon Bell saga in Pittsburgh.
On Wednesday, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported GM Kevin Colbert will not exercise any sort of franchise tag on Bell for the upcoming season, officially making him a free agent for 2019.
Steelers are not tagging Le'Veon Bell, according to GM Kevin Colbert: "Le’Veon is still a great player. We can’t afford to use any other type of tags. Le’Veon will be an unrestricted free agent at the start of the new league year."
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) February 20, 2019
With the Steelers allowing Bell to walk, they will likely receive a third round compensatory pick for the 2020 NFL Draft.
The risks/rewards of tagging Bell were of great interest to the Steelers, who still would’ve liked to have Bell back on the roster for 2019. Yet with continued failed contract negotiations and the rise of running back James Conner, the Steelers are believed to be comfortable moving forward without the Michigan State product.
During his tenure in Pittsburgh, Bell averaged 4.3 yards per carry and amassed 35 touchdowns on the ground, while also totaling 312 receptions for 2,660 yards and 7 scores through the air.
Bell’s time in Pittsburgh can be viewed in many different lights. One on hand, Bell provided the Steelers a multi-dimensional threat out of the backfield, proving his worth as one of the best running backs in the league.
On the other, Bell’s health issues, suspensions and desire for top dollar paychecks have driven him and the Steelers their separate ways.