Le'Veon Bell won't be hit with Steelers' franchise tag
Le'Veon Bell will be an unrestricted free agent on March 13.
Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said the organisation will not use the franchise tag, or any other tag, on the running back, which will ensure he is an unrestricted free agent when the new NFL year starts.
"Le'Veon is still a great player," Colbert said.
"We can't afford to use any other type of tags. Le'Veon will be an unrestricted free agent at the start of the new league year."
The Steelers last year placed the franchise tag on Bell for the second offseason in a row, which he protested by sitting out all of the 2018 season.
If the Steelers were to use the franchise tag on Bell again, it would be to counteract any offer by another team.
Another option was for the Steelers to place the transition tag on Bell as a bargaining chip for a trade, which would have given the team an immediate return. However, that option was considered risky, at best.
The news comes on the heels of receiver Antonio Brown's admission that he met with Steelers owner Art Rooney II earlier this week. Brown said the two "cleared the air" on several issues, but decided it would be best for the wide receiver to move on.
James Conner, who filled the void Bell left last season, will very likely be the Steelers' top running back this year, while JuJu Smith-Schuster is the top candidate to take over for Brown at receiver.