Le’Veon Bell is not under contract therefore cannot be traded by the 4:00 PM deadline. That doesn’t mean he will be playing for the Steelers in 2018 necessarily. Rescinding the franchise tag would make Bell a free agent, and that would benefit both sides.
Rescinding the Franchise Tag Would Be Viable for the Steelers AND Le’Veon Bell
The Steelers would benefit from letting Bell go for a couple of reasons. The obvious reason is that it would free up cap space. The less obvious but still fairly obvious reason would be this: Their offense looks better with James Conner as the running back. Letting go of Bell would answer the question of who the running back would be moving forward. James Conner is on a roll and in turn the offense is rolling. Bell coming back into the locker room and being inserted back into the offense may upset that momentum and the groove that the Pittsburgh offense is enjoying. Letting Bell go would erase any doubt and save money, two very attractive benefits to making Le’Veon Bell a free agent.
Le’Veon Bell would benefit from this move as well. He is no help for the Steelers and it is quite obvious that he is on his way out of Pittsburgh. If he were to become a free agent in the middle of the season, the teams that were interested in him may be in the thick of the playoff race or are one piece away from making a run, such as the New York Jets. Becoming a free agent means that Bell can pick the team he wants to go to and get that long term deal he rightfully feels he deserves all at the same time. Also, going to a new team in the middle of the season may allow him to get fresh, and if that team makes the playoffs he would be in mid-season form for the postseason, giving his new club a boost in their push for a championship. It also allows him to get acquainted to his new offense quicker than if he would go to them in the off-season. Bell becoming a free agent now would benefit him in both financial and competitive ways and should be looked at as an option by his team,
Le’Veon Bell becoming a free agent via the Steelers rescinding the franchise tag would be huge news, and may not be too far fetched. Bell becoming a free agent would resolve any questions in the Steelers locker room about who the starting back is, and it would put an end to the saga that has been the guessing game of Bell’s arrival date. The move would also save them cap space by not obligating them to pay Bell the rest of the money that he is owed via the franchise tag. This move would benefit Bell by allowing him to choose the team he wants to go to AND get paid the big money he wants. While this move will shake the league, and 31 other teams would be beside themselves with shock; it would theoretically be a win-win situation for both sides of this impasse.