Werder: Trading Bell Is Difficult – For Both Sides

Even if the Steelers want to trade Le'Veon Bell, there's no guarantee they will

Tiki and Tierney
October 15, 2018 - 7:28 pm

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Le’Veon Bell will likely not play for the Pittsburgh Steelers next season, which makes trading him this season a distinct possibility.

But will they?

“Le’Veon Bell is a difficult one,” Westwood One NFL reporter Ed Werder said on Tiki and Tierney. “I think the Steelers have demonstrated that they’re very capable of winning without Le’Veon Bell, which will come as a surprise, I think, to many people who believed Bell was this really unique back and maybe the best dual-threat running back in football. It really seems like the players are solidly behind James Conner and what he’s done – and he’s been productive. We heard Ben Roethlisberger say last week, ‘Hey, if Le’Veon Bell comes back, James Conner should not go away. James Conner should have a role on this team even with Le’Veon in the lineup.’ That’s not the way the Steelers have typically approached the running back position.”

Conner has rushed 103 times for 453 yards and seven touchdowns this season while catching 26 balls for 257 yards. That puts him on pace for 1,893 total yards – on 344 touches, which is exactly what Bell wanted to avoid without a long-term contract in place.

“I think it’s a hard trade for anybody to make,” Werder said. “Even if Pittsburgh comes to the conclusion that they’re not going to re-sign him and they might as well get something for him, it’s a hard trade for somebody to make and give up anything of value because they can’t secure him to a long-term contract until after the season is over. So you’re renting a player who – you don’t have any idea what kind of shape he’s in, there’s no indication he’s been working out getting ready to return, he’s missed all kinds of deadlines that he’s confided in his teammates he was going to report on, including today. So I think it’s a hard trade to make even if the Steelers are willing to do it.”

The Steelers (3-2-1), who are on a bye this week, host Cleveland (2-3-1) in Week 8 and play the Ravens in Baltimore (4-2) in Week 9. Kickoff for both games is slated for 1 p.m. ET.