With Le’Veon Bell holding out through the preseason and set to miss Week 1, the Pittsburgh Steelers may want to consider a trade. Where could Bell go?
A Le’Veon Bell holdout was expected entering training camp, and it was expected to last a while. This is not the first time Bell has held out of preseason activities, either. Last season, Bell held out of preseason in hopes to secure a long-term deal. He didn’t get that, signing under the franchise tag. He did play Week 1, though.
In Pittsburgh’s season opener against Cleveland last season, Bell didn’t play well — but at least he played. Bell finished off the season a free agent again, coming into this year with his future once again up in the air.
Once again having to agree to sign under the franchise tag, Bell will enter the regular season as a Steeler. But, this time around, he will not see the field in Week 1 against the Browns.
Bell’s agent came out explaining why the running back continues to hold out, saying Bell didn’t want the Steelers to run him into the ground — since Bell won’t be returning to the team next season.
Bell rushed 21.4 times per game last season, while also catching 85 balls. That was career-high usage for the 26-year-old back, and there is no reason to believe Pittsburgh wouldn’t ramp that usage up again this season.
While Bell’s holdout makes sense, his teammates aren’t happy. Since the holdout will now effect real-life games, his teammates no longer have his back.
With how things have shaken out, this may be the time for Pittsburgh to consider trading Bell. Bell, arguably the best back in football, would likely have a robust market that would allow the Steelers to improve elsewhere.
Which teams should Pittsburgh consider?
5. Cleveland Browns
Let’s start off with the team Pittsburgh faces in Week 1 — the Cleveland Browns. This is the least likely on the list, as the Steelers probably don’t want to trade Bell to an intra-division rival.
The Browns, though, have added a lot of talent over the offseason and are sick of losing. If a back like Bell is available, why not throw the Steelers an offer?
Cleveland is fine at running back for now, as Carlos Hyde and rookie Nick Chubb looked solid in the preseason. Duke Johnson, who may be more of a receiver at this juncture, is a great weapon as well.
Bell would undoubtedly be an upgrade, however, and he would surely love the opportunity to face the Steelers twice a year.
If Cleveland was willing to give up one of those backs along with some draft compensation, maybe the Steelers consider it. Again, it’s unlikely, but you never know!