Schefter reported Pittsburgh's shift in philosophy Sunday with Bell set to miss Monday night's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the midst of a holdout.
Bell and the Steelers were unable to come to terms on a contract extension during the offseason, but the three-time Pro Bowler has refused to sign his franchise tender for 2018.
Although Bell is missing out on $853,000 for each game he misses, he can still become a free agent during the offseason if he reports by Week 11.
Prior to the start of the season, Bell's agent, Adisa Bakari, suggested that a long holdout could be in store so Bell could preserve his health and value on the free-agent market, per ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler.
Knowing that, any team that acquires Bell in a trade would be taking a significant risk since he may not report until the latter portion of the season.
One possible exception to Bell's stance would be if the team that acquires him manages to work out a verbal agreement on a contract extension since nothing can be officially signed until after the 2018 campaign.
Bell led the NFL in touches last season with 406 and finished with 1,946 yards from scrimmage and 11 total touchdowns.
During Bell's absence, the Steelers have turned to James Conner, who has 152 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, as well as 10 receptions for 105 yards.
While Conner has performed well during Bell's absence, the Steelers are off to a slow start this season at 0-1-1.