The thought of LeVeon Bell entering the Pittsburgh Steelers' locker room at any time this season -- or perhaps ever again -- is almost laughable right now.
The report from ESPN's Adam Schefter that the Steelers are now listening to trade offers is the latest development in a story trending toward a quick and painless divorce, if it hasn't happened already.
Both sides appear to be moving on, at least mentally. That the Steelers are open for business would only reinforce that belief.
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The Steelers don't want to go through this again next year, and Bell knows that. The team has options if Bell continues to sit. Article 10, Section 15 of the collective bargaining agreement states that if a franchise player doesn't play in a league year, the team "shall have the right" to designate him as a franchise player once again, though once that tag is in place, the draft compensation in a trade would drop from two first-round picks to a first- and a third-round pick. That's a right the Steelers "shall" not take. Bell is making this so difficult that only pettiness from the franchise would keep him around next year.
The story added a trade doesn't make sense because the team getting him inherits the franchise tag. Besides, Bell's goal seems to be to get to free agency.
The story also added, as one NFL general manager said, teams won't want to A) meet Bell's demands for $15-plus million per year with a big guarantee, B) give up big draft capital for a running back, and C) deal with the franchise tag dynamics to do so. Maybe a team would accept A or B, but all three is asking a lot.