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What happens next with Le’Veon Bell?

According to a report, Le'Veon Bell will return to the Steelers during the team's bye week, but it might not be a smooth return for the star RB.

Assuming that the report from Jeremy Fowler of ESPN is accurate that Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell intends report in Week Seven and sign his franchise tender, the question becomes what happens next?

Three general possibilities exist. First, the Steelers could welcome him back and happily employ him, at $855,000 per week through Week 17. He’d then likely become a free agent in March, with the Steelers possibly applying the transition tag as a way to potentially match an offer he receives on the open market, but with no compensation from his new team. The Steelers would be eligible for a compensatory draft pick in 2020, based on their total free-agency signings and losses.

Second, the Steelers could trade him before the Tuesday after Week Eight, when the window for doing so closes. Once he signs with the Steelers, he indeed can be traded, to any team. A tentative deal could be negotiate now, with the understanding that the trade would happen once Bell shows up.

Third, now that the cat is out of the bag regarding his plan to report, the Steelers can rescind the tender before he does. Under that arrangement, however, they’d get no compensation for him, because the team’s free-agent signings (Morgan Burnett and Jon Bostic) would make their free-agent losses (Casey Hubbard and Bell).