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Jets reportedly interested in trading for Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell |

Jets reportedly interested in trading for Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell

Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell plays against the Jaguars Saturday, Jan. 14, 2018 at Heinz Field.

TAMPA, Fla. — The New York Jets are the first team reportedly stepping up to inquire about a trade for Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell.

The Jets have contacted the Steelers regarding Bell, the New York Daily News reported Monday afternoon .

Bell still hasn’t signed his franchise-tag tender and has lost $2.5 million of his $14.544 million salary while remaining away from the Steelers through three weeks.

For the Steelers to complete a trade with the Jets, Bell would have to sign his tender first. The Jets, however, would be unable to sign Bell to a long-term contract until after the season, meaning they would be renting him for less than one season unless they can reach a gentleman’s agreement on a contract when free agency begins in March.

If Bell remains Steelers property until the end of the season, they would receive a third-round draft pick in 2020 as compensation so any trade involving the star running back likely would start with the Steelers at least getting a third-round pick.

The Steelers have started second-year running back James Conner of Pitt in Bell’s absence.

The Jets are 1-2 and tied with the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills at the bottom of the AFC East. The Miami Dolphins are in first place with a 3-0 record. The Jets also have $22.4 million in salary cap space, so they would be able to fit in Bell’s pro-rated salary for the rest of the season. The Jets have used the tandem of Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell in their backfield this year. Crowell has rushed for 171 yards and four touchdowns. Powell has 139 yards rushing.

The NFL trading deadline is Oct. 30.

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at [email protected] or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.

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