Tag deadline passes, Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell officially becomes free agent | TribLIVE.com
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Joe Rutter

Le’Veon Bell officially became a free agent Tuesday when, as promised, the Pittsburgh Steelers did not apply the transition tag to the 27-year-old running back.

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said Feb. 20 that the organization would not apply the transition or more costly franchise tag to Bell, who held out the entire 2018 season rather than sign his $14.54 million franchise-tag tender.

The two-week window for teams to apply the franchise and transition tags expired at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Six players received the franchise tag: Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, Dallas Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, Houston Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Dee Ford, San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould and Seattle Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark.

No teams used the transition tag.

Bell can begin negotiating with other teams March 11, but he cannot sign a contract until the start of the new league season at 4 p.m. March 13.

The NFL also officially set the 2019 salary cap for each team at $188.2 million, an increase from $177.2 million last season. The Steelers are carrying over $18.2 million in unused cap space from 2018 and have a total cap allotment of $206.4 million. According to overthecap.com, the Steelers are $16.3 million under the cap as they prepare for free agency, which begins March 13.

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