With Le'Veon Bell continuing his holdout, many NFL fans are wondering if it is in the Steelers' best interest to keep the running back on their roster rather than give him the trade he has requested. Yet, team owner Art Rooney II says the team will not move Bell before the upcoming trade deadline on Oct. 30.
Rooney told NFL reporter Ian Rapoport that he does not expect any trade involving Bell to happen before the deadline expires.
"I expect him to be a member of the team going forward," Rooney said. "That’s my expectation."
Despite these comments, the team says that it is not completely opposed to trading Bell. Because Bell didn't return during the Steelers' bye week like advertised, the team is unsure when the running back will play again. This adds to the narrative of those who believe Bell does not want to be traded. If this is true, he can wait until after the deadline to return. At that point, Bell could sign his franchise tender and the Steelers will be unable to deal him to any team.
However, developments could also argue the opposite. By calling the Steelers' bluff and holding out for as long as possible, Bell (who said he would like to play this season) can either force a trade or get the organization to adjust their stance and add more money to his franchise tag.
Yet true to strategy, Bell has kept his wants in fluid motion, setting the stage for a dramatic end to this saga. Bell needs to report by Week 10 in order to avoid his contract toll.