Steelers won’t tag Le’Veon Bell; will explore trade for Antonio Brown

Le’Veon Bell is free to go. Antonio Brown, maybe not so much.

The Steelers have no plans to place a transition tag on Bell, allowing the running back to reach the open market when free agency begins next month. And though the team will explore moving Brown, general manager Kevin Colbert stressed Wednesday that Pittsburgh will not cut the disgruntled wide receiver just to appease him.

“By no means are we going to make a trade or any type of move that will not be beneficial to the Pittsburgh Steeler organization,” Colbert said. “We will not be discounting (Brown) on the trade market and we certainly will not be releasing” him.

Brown, the only player in NFL history with six straight seasons of at least 100 receptions, began openly campaigning for a new team shortly after Pittsburgh missed the playoffs.

As for Bell — who sat out all of 2018 after declining to sign his one-year, $14.4 million franchise tender — the Steelers will let him go via free agency.

“Le’Veon is still a great player but we can’t afford to use any type of tag with other needs that we have,” Colbert said.

Pensions: Two leading advocates for retired NFL players have partnered in pushing for increased pension benefits for pre-1993 retirees.

The Pro Football Retired Players Association, a nonprofit chaired by Hall of Famer Jim Brown, donated $100,000 to Fairness for Athletes in Retirement, a nonprofit advocating for pension parity in the upcoming negotiations over the league’s next collective bargaining agreement. Brown called pension disparity “the most pressing issue facing retirees.”

The donation follows a pledge of NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith to prioritize retiree benefits in the 2021 labor accord.

NFL pensions continue to lag behind those of other sports. A 10-year NFL veteran who retired before 1993 receives between $24,000 and $43,560 a year before taxes at age 55. In contrast, FAIR said a Major League Baseball player who retired after 1980 following a 10-year career receives about $200,000 yearly at age 62 and a 10-year NBA veteran who retired after 1965 receives about $215,000 a year at age 62.

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