Le'Veon Bell
Le'Veon Bell has yet to sign a franchise tag with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Le’Veon Bell holdout from the Pittsburgh Steelers continued into Week 3 of the new season with the running back failing to turn up and sign his $14.54 million franchise tag tender. Bell skipped the training camp and the preseason, but was expected to return when the regular season began earlier this month.

The Steelers running back was a no show for their opening two games against the Cleveland Browns and the Kansas City Chiefs and again failed to show up for Monday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which they won 30-27 to record their first win of the season.

Bell’s no show thus far has seen him forfeit his weekly pay of $855,529 and he has until Nov. 13 to show up and sign his franchise tag — if not he will forfeit his right to play for the rest of the year. It is now being reported the Steelers have reached a tipping point and are now “listening to trade offers for the running back,” according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

And the New York Daily Post’s Manish Mehta reported the first team to express interest in a potential trade was the New York Jets. They are yet to make a concrete offer for the running back but are said to be aware the Steelers are moving Bell.

Bell has amassed 5,336 rushing yards, 2,660 receiving yards and 42 career touchdowns in his first five seasons. And the Steelers running back is said to be looking for a multiyear deal for more than his current $15 million per season.

In terms of cap space available the Jets are in an enviable position as they currently possess space of about $17 million and next spring they will have over $90 million which will allow them to hand Bell a long-term deal. The Jets will, however, have to give up their third round pick if the Steelers are open to a trade as the latter will anyway be eligible or a compensatory pick if Bell leaves the team in free agency in 2019.

Despite all the speculation, the Steelers do not hold all the cards when it comes to a potential trade involving Bell. As per Forbes’ Andrea Hangst, they will require his cooperation as only players under contract with a franchise can be traded and the running back is yet to sign his tender for the season.

If Bell does not want to be traded he can simply wait until the last day for him to sign his franchise tag, which is Nov. 13 or the Tuesday after Week 10, which is just under two weeks after the trade deadline passes on Oct. 30.

Further, Bell could also avoid the trade by signing the franchise tender before the deadline and inserting a no-trade clause in his contract for upcoming campaign. The saga is likely to continue in to Week 4 and it remains to be seen what the running back, who has been amongst the best in the league, will do in the coming weeks.