Backup James Conner has shown that he’s a starting caliber running back. Therefore, this makes it easier for the Steelers to offer Bell in a potential.
NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports that the team’s asking price is fairly high.
From @gmfb Weekend: The #Steelers are now activately shopping RB Le'Veon Bell, sources say, making calls and doing due diligence. A trade would be difficult, but not impossible. pic.twitter.com/EltwpqYrNs
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 30, 2018
Will Any Team Pay This Price for Bell?
The Steelers don’t just want any player for Bell – they want a good player along with the second-round pick. This might be reasonable if Pittsburgh were only mildly interested in trade offers.
But the problem right now is that they don’t have much leverage. It’s clear that Bell doesn’t want to report to the team unless he gets a lucrative, long-term contract. And even if a team is still interested, they’ll have to negotiate a new deal with Le’Veon so that he doesn’t simply leave in the offseason.
Of course, Pittsburgh has drawn plenty of interest ever since it became apparent that they wanted to part ways with Bell. He’s a game-changing running back who can impact the game through both his running and pass-catching abilities.
Jets Interested in LeVeon Bell Trade
It’s pretty clear that the Jets could benefit from having a bonafide running back. Right now, they’re going with a committee backfield of Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell.
But adding Bell to their roster would help take some of the pressure off rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, who’s struggled in his early starts. Donald should get better, though, which would help him form a powerful offensive duo with Bell as the tailback.
Indianapolis Colts also Interested
The Indianapolis Colts are another team that’s interested in acquiring Bell. Like the Jets, Indianapolis could also benefit greatly from adding a star running back to their roster.
Their backfield is a mess right now, as they try to sort out who should carry the ball between Jordan Wilkins, Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines, and the soon to return Robert Turbin.
Considering that the key issue between Bell and the Steelers is money, the Colts are one of the few teams that can give him a serious upgrade on his $14.54 million contract.
Colts owner Jim Irsay would also like to put some pieces around star quarterback Andrew Luck, who’s had to do most of the work himself over the past several years. Bell would give the team another legitimate offensive star, thus providing Luck with more room to work.
Steelers can Simply Let Bell Walk
The other scenario here is that Pittsburgh could continue their standoff with Le’Veon until the end of the year. At this point, Bell would go into free agency and Pittsburgh would receive compensation.
While the compensation isn’t set in stone, it’s been reported that Pittsburgh would likely receive a third round draft pick. Obviously this is a low return for such a great player. However, ownership may take the third round pick over having to deal with this fractured relationship.
Odds are that Bell won’t be playing in a Steelers jersey ever again. The only question, though, is whether he’ll be traded from the only franchise he’s known in his NFL career, or be forced to continue this waiting game until the off-season.
Pittsburgh Steelers Odds of Winning AFC North
The Steelers are obviously taking a hit without Bell on the field. Conner may be playing well, but he’s still not Le’Veon. The offense hasn’t seemed the same through four games this year.
Pittsburgh currently sits at 1-1-2, which ties them for last in the AFC North with the Cleveland Browns. This is a far cry from how many experts expected them to win the division and challenge for the North title.
Here’s a look at the current Steelers futures odds:
Odds of Winning AFC North
- Baltimore +150
- Cincinnati +210
- Pittsburgh +250
- Cleveland +1000