There’s now a new team who’s jumped into the mix for Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell. After being made available for trade, it seems the San Francisco 49ers want in on the Bell sweepstakes.
As CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora revealed, the 49ers have made an “exploratory call” to the Steelers about Bell.
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“Nothing has advanced beyond a preliminary stage and San Francisco’s interest is likely mitigated by the season-ending injury to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo,” La Canfora wrote. The trade deadline is about a month away, and the “Steelers are not in any rush to deal Bell,” according to La Canfora.
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While La Canfora states that the interest is “mitigated” due to Garoppolo’s injury, the 49ers are currently locked in a tight game with the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 4. Although San Francisco is 1-2 on the season, Bell could still help them make a playoff push, even if they acquire him as a one-year rental.
49ers’ Running Back Situation
This originally came on the heels of the news that Matt Breida left the team’s Week 4 game with an apparent shoulder injury. While Breida has flashed upside throughout the early stages of the season, it would have left Alfred Morris as the team’s primary running back. Breida did return to the game, so it seems the 49ers may just be looking to bolster the position.
The biggest topic when it comes to Bell and a potential deal could be Jerick McKinnon. While the team’s free-agent signing is out for the year with a torn ACL, his contract structure is worth talking about.
There’s no question the 49ers are high on McKinnon after giving him a four-year, $30 million deal, but as Spotrac shows, the team can get out of the contract with a minimal cap hit after this season. That would only be a factor if San Francisco acquired Bell and figured out a way to work out a long-term deal with him, though.
But should the 49ers choose to go that route, releasing their 2018 free-agent would cost them just $1.5 million in dead cap and avoid the full $4.25 million cap hit next year.
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