We are now in 10 weeks in the NFL season and, somehow, there is still clarity on the situation involving Le & Veon Bell and Pittsburgh Steelers.
If Bell wants to play in the NFL this year, he must report to the team before 4pm. ET on November 13th. Although Bell has given no indication of what he intends to do, it seems that the Steelers expect him to come along.
During an interview with Sirius XM NFL Radio on ThursdayThe owner of Steelers, Art Rooney II, has admitted that he has no idea what the plan is for Bell, but added that he expects the running back to report back to a certain point before Tuesday's deadline.
"I do not know what his plans are, but I would say at this point, we expect him to come back next week," Rooney said. "We know he's back in Pittsburgh so we hope to have some communication with him over the weekend, and we're waiting for him to come back next week."
Rooney's quote perfectly sums up the madness of Bell's situation perfectly. For one, he is the owner and has no idea if Bell will show up, despite the fact that we are less than five days away from the deadline. Also, he "hopes" to have a communication with Bell over the weekend, but in reality he does not seem to know if it will happen. Oh, and clearly has not met Bell yet, even if the running back.
Another strange thing about this situation is that nobody seems to have any idea what will happen if Bell does not report to the Steelers on Tuesday. On the one hand, it was originally thought that Bell could be re-tagged at the $ 14.5 million 2018 number. However, a report came out this week – which Will Brinson– and that report said that if Bell had skipped the season it would be his second franchise tag, which meant that if the Steelers had labeled him in 2019, they would have to pay him the value of a third franchise tag, which would be all 39, about $ 25 million (In that situation, the Steelers would surely let him walk because they could never pay him that money when they contracted James Conner for $ 668,000 next season)
During his interview, Rooney was asked if he had a "definitive answer" about what the CBA says in reference to Bell's franchise tag and he did not make it clear.
"I have to say, probably not," Rooney said if the Steelers knew which label would apply to Bell. "We are in an unexplored territory here in terms of this never happened, as far as I know.There are questions we could get at the end of the season, but we will cross those bridges when we get to them after the season."
You can see how much Rooney was uncertain about everything by looking at his interview below. Also, if you watch the Panthers-Steelers game on Thursday,and follow in our live blog.