If Le’Veon Bell leaves Pittsburgh, it won’t be until 2019 at the earliest.
According to ESPN, the Steelers running back has yet to report to the team and sign his franchise tag. If he doesn’t do so by Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET trade deadline, he’ll be safe from being dealt this season.
Bell, who is seeking guaranteed money, has forfeited $6.8 million during his time away from Pittsburgh after being tendered for the second straight year. He remains absent despite reports that he was going to end his holdout and rejoin the Steelers during their Week 7 bye.
He will have to end his holdout before Week 10 in order to accrue an NFL season, which would make him eligible for unrestricted free agency after the 2018 season. The Nov. 13 deadline for him to sign his tender falls during Week 11 when the Steelers are scheduled to visit the Jaguars in a rematch of last year’s divisional round playoff game.
The Steelers (4-2-1) will look to stay atop the AFC North when they visit the Ravens (4-4) at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.