Two more game weeks remain before Le’Veon Bell‘s declared reporting window opens during the Steelers‘ bye. The team is still listening to trade offers for the 2017 All-Pro, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports. The Jets, 49ers and Eagles have surfaced as interested parties. However, a trade still appears to be the only way Bell will leave the Steelers in 2018. Florio adds the team does not intend to rescind his franchise tender, despite the prolonged absence. This obviously makes sense because the Steelers rescinding the tender would not entitle them to compensation for Bell. Pittsburgh isn’t wavering on this long-held stance, though Florio adds the team must now consider if it would prefer a 2020 third-round compensatory pick or a return likely involving a 2019 selection in a trade. If Bell reports during Week 7, the Steelers would have over a week to work out a trade until the Oct. 30 deadline.
Bell’s plummeting 2018 salary — down more than $3MM from the $14.5MM price at the season’s outset — will affect a prospective transition tag in 2019. The Steelers could place the lesser-used tag on Bell next year on a 20 percent raise from his 2018 salary, which won’t be finalized until he signs his tender, and Florio notes that could be used in a transition tag-and-trade scenario.
Moving to less contentious AFC situations, here’s the latest:
- The short Marquette King era in Denver is winding down. Intending to release the veteran punter via injury settlement when he recovers from his groin injury, the Broncos will also eat $1.5MM of King’s $2MM 2018 salary, 9News’ Mike Klis tweets. Neither Vance Joseph nor Broncos ST coordinator Tom McMahon attributed King’s struggles (44.1 yards per punt, 23rd in the NFL) to the groin malady. But King’s agent, Wynn Silberman, said his client encountered the injury during the offseason. “The injury clearly developed in OTAs, but Marquette wanted to fight through it and help the team,’’ Silberman said, via Klis. “He’s disappointed he couldn’t contribute more.” King will visit a San Jose, Calif.-based doctor on Monday, Silberman said. King, 29, averaged 47.4 yards per punt during his final Raiders season. The Broncos traded their previous punter, Riley Dixon, to the Giants after acquiring King.
- A Tyrod Taylor trade is certainly possible for the Browns, who have already begun the Baker Mayfield era, doing so despite Hue Jackson‘s repeated intentions to play Taylor for either all or most of this season. Taylor acknowledged a trade request could be something he’ll consider, and ESPNCleveland’s Tony Grossi tweets the Browns could reasonably target a fifth- or sixth-round pick for their current backup quarterback. It may take a signal-caller’s injury to accelerate a Taylor market, because most teams are set at sports’ marquee position, but Cleveland almost certainly would be able to acquire value for the three-plus-year starting quarterback.
- The Raiders released Tank Carradine to make room for Rashaan Melvin‘s activation, but the former 49ers defensive lineman requested a fresh start. Carradine was not happy with the playing time he was receiving in Oakland, per Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (on Twitter). Oakland added multiple defensive linemen after the season started, Johnathan Hankins and Clinton McDonald. Carradine played in only one game as a Raider.