Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that Adisa Bakari, the agent for Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell, attended Pittsburgh’s game against the Browns last week but didn’t provide any update regarding his client’s ongoing holdout.
Bakari also represents Browns QB Tyrod Taylor, which is likely why he was at last week’s game between Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
As of now, Bakari hasn’t given the Steelers a timeframe for when Bell may end his holdout an report to the team. In fact, La Canfora says that no one beyond Bell truly knows how this situation will play out.
Bell has not been in communication with coaches or team officials and the Steelers anticipate him having a lengthy absence. Team officials have told La Canfora that they’d be “very surprised” if Bell didn’t skip at least 4-6 games and others could see him missing the first half of the season.
Bell will have to report to the team by mid-November to gain an accrued year of service time towards free agency.
According to La Canfora, the Steelers have not considered or entertained the idea of trading Bell.
As for the Steelers’ plans in 2019, La Canfora says that Pittsburgh is prepared to move on without Bell and while the transition tag could be an option, it’s unlikely they would match a record-setting offer.
Bell, 26, is a former second-round pick of the Steelers back in 2013. He played out the final year of his four-year, $4,120,600 rookie contract that included a $1,376,800 signing bonus and was in position to be one of the best players in the free agent market when he was franchised.
The Steelers used the franchise tag on Bell again this offseason, which means he stands to make $14.5 million fully guaranteed for the 2018 season before testing the open market as an unrestricted free agent next year.
In 2017, Bell has appeared in 15 games for the Steelers and rushed for 1, 291yards on 321 carries (4 YPC) to go along with 85 receptions for 655 yards receiving and 11 total touchdowns. Pro Football Focus had him rated as the No. 9 running back out of 58 qualifying players.