There may be a hitch in Le’Veon Bell’s plan to continue his holdout from the Pittsburgh Steelers. While the disgruntled running back has opted not to return to the team through the first four weeks of the NFL season, it’s resulted in trade talks ramping up over the past week or so.
But even if Bell is traded, there’s a chance he may have already cost himself quite a bit of money, and the lost money is only increasing. As ESPN’s Adam Schefter detailed on NFL Sunday Countdown, the Steelers or any team Bell is traded to could use the transition tag on the back. If that happens, then every week he misses costs him.
“[Le’Veon] Bell’s continued absence from Pittsburgh has raised questions about what his future salary could be if the Steelers decide to use the transition tag on him this offseason. Any team using the transition tag on Bell next season – the tag would be 120 percent of this season’s salary. But the longer Bell stays away from work right now the more that salary goes down. So the longer he’s away, the more he jeopardizes his potential earnings in 2019 if the Steelers or any team that trades for him decides to use the transition tag on him.” Schefter stated.
It’s an interesting comment from Schefter, but one that makes sense when you really think about it. The Steelers surely don’t want to lose Bell without getting something in return for him. Using the transition tag in this instance could be a way to keep the running back under contract and then deal him.
Current Value of Transition Tag for Bell
Based on Spotrac having Bell’s current contract as $14.544 million this season, and the fact that the running back will have missed four games to this point, that’d leave 13 weeks at most. If we take the 13 game number and consider that Bell is losing $855,000 per week, it leaves roughly $11.115 million he can still make this year.
Based on those numbers, 120 percent of that would leave Bell with a contract worth $13.338 million under the transition tag. So, even if the Steelers running back returns in Week 5, he’d make less money on a 2019 deal than he was set to earn this year.
Source: Heavy Sports