PITTSBURGH – Le'Veon Bell is officially a free agent.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will not place a transitional gold franchise on the All-Pro running back, general manager Kevin Colbert told local reporters on Wednesday.
"Le'Veon is still a great player," Colbert said. "Le'Veon will be an unrestricted free agent at the start of the new league year."
For losing Bell, the team will receive a 2020 compensatory pick that could be worth as high as a third-round selection. Colbert said the transition was not viable because of the number ($ 14.5 million) and the fact that Pro Bowl running back James Conner and rookie Jaylen Samuels were productive without Bell last season.
Bell, who turned up on his last year, leaving $ 14.5 million on the table.
Leading up to Colbert's announcement, there was a battle between the NFL and NFL Players Association over the value of a transition tag on Bell. Bell and the NFLPA would likely argue that the transition tag is close to $ 14.5 million based on the escalating value of tags, and the Steelers and the NFL would say it's closer to $ 9.5 million because Bell sat out. That point is now moot.
Colbert also said the Steelers would not offer a discount to Antonio Brown. The GM said no relationship is irreparable, so the team can not find good value for it, keeping Brown might be an option.
"We're all disappointed we're at this point, how things transpired, we're all disappointed," Colbert said. "Respectfully, we did not agree to look into a trade [and it] would probably be the best course of action for both sides. … By no means are we going to make a trade or not be profitable to the Pittsburgh Steelers organization. We will not be discounting you on the market and we will not release you. "
He added that the Steelers have not had any active trade talks about this.
Information from ESPN's Adam Schefter was used in this report.