According to NFL Networks Maurice Jones-Drew (h/t Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk), Bells agent, Adisa Bakari, didnt initially realize that Bell could be eligible for the quarterback franchise tender next season even if he sits out the entire 2018 season.
“So what happened was that once that came out, that theyre now digging and reading … trying to understand the language, because theres a lot of language in the CBA, especially for this particular instance,” Jones-Drew said. “So theyre going back now to really sit down and figure out [the language].”
The NFL season is a little halfway over, yet the predictions for the 2019 offseason are already starting to roll in.
“Once that came out, there is now digging and reading and trying to understand the language – there’s a lot of language in the CBA, particularly for this particular instance,” Jones-Drew said. “It’s going back now, to sit down and figure out … because if it’s true, Le’Veon doesn’t have to play and he still gets the transition tag, which makes him a free agent, and he gets to go out and negotiate with anyone he wants and the Steelers have the right to match it.”
One of the wildest predictions, thrown out there by Dan Graziano from ESPN, is that Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, who has held out all season, will sign with the Houston Texans in the offseason.
Because of the $25 million-plus franchise-tag number in 2019, the transition tag would be the more likely scenario for the Steelers if they choose to try to keep Bell. The running back would be free to negotiate with NFL teams, but the Steelers would have the right to match any offer. If the Steelers don’t match the offer, they would receive no compensation.
Houston might have fluked its way into half of the victories in its current six-game winning streak, but the result is a first-place team poised to make a run to the playoffs. It’s also a team with a boatload of projected 2019 cap space and a quarterback on his inexpensive rookie deal. The Texans will be next season’s Rams — the “all-in” offseason team trying to maximize Deshaun Watson‘s window. Watson, DeAndre Hopkins and Bell? Look out.
The notion of putting Bell in the backfield behind Watson is very intriguing. It would give legitimacy to the Houston running game and also give them a very dangerous midrange passing game. Bell has amassed 2,660 receiving yards and seven touchdowns on 312 catches in his career. This pairs nicely with his 5,336 rushing yards and 35 touchdowns on 1,229 carries.
The asking price might be a little steep, but if the Texans felt that they needed to put all their chips in on offense, they could most definitely afford it. According to Over The Cap, the Texans will have the sixth-most salary cap space in the NFL at $73.9 million.
Conner, the AFC Offensive Player of the Month, left the game with 13 carries for 65 yards and a touchdown. He also caught one pass for eight yards as the Steelers are just minutes away from winning their fifth consecutive game after a 1-2-1 start to the 2018 season. Conners replacement, Jaylen Samuels, scored his first career touchdown in the third quarter of Thursday nights game.
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Video: Do the Steelers still want LeVeon Bell back? | First Take