Bell had been expected to report to the Steelers during the club’s Week 7 bye, but he never actually showed up. The All-Pro back hasn’t been clear about his exact plans, but he’s still likely to show up at some point this season, if not this week. On Sunday, Steelers owner Art Rooney II said he didn’t expect his club to trade Bell, while Bell himself holds something of a no-trade clause, as he can simply not sign his franchise tender until the NFL’s trade deadline passes on October 30.
If Bell does report this week and sign his franchise tag, he’d be entitled to his weekly salary of $855K. However, the Steelers could potentially use a roster exemption for Bell, which would allow the club to withhold his pay. As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk explained earlier this month, Bell and the Steelers would need to agree to a pay rate if and when Bell is placed on the exempt list. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported Sunday that Pittsburgh had discussed the terms of a roster exemption with Bell’s agent.
At last check, Bell hasn’t informed the Steelers of his exact plans. However, when he does show up, the Steelers are expected to use a running back tandem of both Bell and incumbent James Conner. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger recently campaigned for Conner, who is currently second in the NFL in rushing touchdowns and sixth in rushing yards per game, to retain a role once Bell returns.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.