The Steelers and Le’Veon Bell both made closing pushes main up to Tuesday’s deadline to iron out a deal that might have introduced him again to Pittsburgh this season, however neither facet could finalize an settlement, league sources instructed ESPN.
The Steelers had been instructed that in the event that they had been keen to not use their franchise or transition tag on Bell after this season, he would contemplate reporting to the group, in accordance to sources. However the Steelers declined Bell’s request as a result of they felt the tag was too necessary to forgo.
Getting paid this yr was by no means Bell’s precedence. He nonetheless could get what he needs in the long run whereas turning the NFL’s financial mannequin on its head.
The Steelers packed up Le’Veon Bell’s locker at some point after he did not present up and gamers raided it.
This units up a brewing battle between the NFL’s administration council and the NFL Gamers Affiliation in a doubtlessly precedent-setting case over Bell’s future, a case that seemingly might be determined by an arbitrator, in accordance to league sources.
The administration council believes the Steelers might be ready to use a $9.5 million transition tag on Bell this offseason that might give Pittsburgh the prospect to match any provide sheet that the Professional Bowl operating again indicators with one other group. The council believes the $9.5 million wage must be primarily based on his wage this yr, which Bell forfeited by not reporting.
However the NFLPA believes that the transition tag should be $14.54 million — which might be 120 % of Bell’s wage from the final franchise tag that he performed underneath in 2017.
The NFLPA will argue, because it states within the collective bargaining settlement, that Bell’s tag can be primarily based off the prior yr’s “negotiated” contract. However there have been no negotiations for the $14.54 million franchise tag that was utilized to Bell this season, which has opened the door to this discrepancy.
No participant has ever been in a state of affairs like this. If the league wins the ruling, it’ll add much more leverage to groups utilizing franchise and transition tags. If the NFLPA wins, it’ll give gamers extra rights in the event that they resolve to skip seasons when tagged.
However Bell additionally could win by dropping. Some sources imagine he’s extra seemingly to land a suggestion sheet from one other group if the Steelers are allowed to tag him at $9.5 million relatively than the $14.54 million that the NFLPA might be demanding.
Conversely, whereas Bell’s absence would possibly find yourself hurting the Steelers this season, it helps them subsequent season.
The Steelers are allowed to carry over the $14.54 million in salary-cap house that they had connected to Bell’s franchise tag and apply it to their cap as a credit score for subsequent season — and that’s their plan, in accordance to league sources.
“It is a gorgeous factor,” one supply aware of the Steelers’ pondering instructed ESPN.
The Steelers usually are one of many groups that’s proper up towards the wage cap, desperately searching for methods to give you extra cap house. In recent times, they’ve had to restructure gamers’ contracts firstly of the league yr in March to have the ability to make strikes in free company and the draft.
If the Steelers resolve to use a tag on Bell, a few of that cap house might be used. But when and when Bell lands with one other group, that $14.54 million credit score might be utilized to the Steelers’ cap.