NFL Rumors: Le'Veon Bell, 'At Least' 10 Players Could Receive Some Form of Tag

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 19, 2019

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14:  Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field on January 14, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

At least 10 NFL players could reportedly receive a franchise or transition tag this offseason.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell, Dallas Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, Houston Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, Kansas City Chiefs pass-rusher Dee Ford, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark, Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, New York Giants safety Landon Collins, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive tackle Donovan Smith, San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould and New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski are all tag candidates.

Teams have from Feb. 19 until March 5 to tag players.

If Schefter's prediction comes true, ESPN's Dan Graziano noted it would mark the most tags in an offseason since 2012, when 19 of them were handed out. Graziano added that tags are more scarcely used now since the price associated with them continues to rise.

While many of the players Schefter mentioned would be retention candidates, that wouldn't be the case with all of them.

After Bell sat out all of last season rather than play under the franchise tag, his relationship with the Steelers is beyond repair. Because of that, placing the transition tag on him could be a smart move for Pittsburgh.

It's a long shot that Bell would help the Steelers, but if he does sign the tag, Pittsburgh could trade him. If the Steelers let him become an unrestricted free agent, the only thing they could receive is a compensatory draft pick, depending on how active they are in free agency.

Foles is in a somewhat similar situation to Bell's, since it seems unlikely he will be back with the Eagles after head coach Doug Pederson publicly backed Carson Wentz as his starting quarterback of the present and future.

Tagging Foles would allow the Eagles to both trade and reward him with a big-time salary in 2019 after he helped Philadelphia win its first Super Bowl to conclude the 2017 season.

The list of teams in need of a quarterback is short, but there should be enough demand for Foles to convince the Eagles to tag him. The Jacksonville Jaguars and Washington Redskins stand out as possible landing spots.

The other players Schefter mentioned are mostly elite, and they will likely command big-time money on the open market if they make it to free agency.

Bell may have set a new precedent last season by giving up significant compensation in favor of long-term security. If 10 or more players receive a tag of some kind, it will quickly become apparent just how influential Bell was on his peers.

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