La Canfora says that while Bell announced that he plans to end his holdout and report to the Steelers during their Week 7 bye, he can’t see Bell playing for Pittsburgh ever again. La Canfora adds that Bell is a “very strong candidate” to be traded by this year’s deadline.
Regarding the Eagles, La Canfora mentions that their offense could use a dynamic talent like Bell as they look to make another Super Bowl run this year. Bell would give the Eagles an upgrade in terms of pass-protection, which should help to take some pressure off of QB Carson Wentz.
La Canfora admits that in order for this trade to make sense, the Eagles would likely need to find a trade partner for backup QB Nick Foles.
As for some other teams, La Canfora doesn’t see the Buccaneers having interest in renting a running back. La Canfora says there’s “no way” the Steelers would trade Bell to the Patriots and the Jets are unlikely to be a serious option, despite making some initial exploratory phone calls.
The Packers would seem to make some sense, given that their running back situation hasn’t been great to open the season, but La Canfora reports that Green Bay hasn’t made any overtures regarding Bell.
Earlier in the week, Bell told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN that he believes Jets, 49ers, Colts, Browns and Eagles would be among teams interested in him as a free agent next year.
Bell, 26, is a former second-round pick of the Steelers back in 2013. He played out the final year of his four-year, $4,120,600 rookie contract that included a $1,376,800 signing bonus and was in position to be one of the best players in the free agent market when he was franchised.
The Steelers used the franchise tag on Bell again this offseason, which means he stands to make $14.5 million fully guaranteed for the 2018 season before testing the open market as an unrestricted free agent next year.
In 2017, Bell has appeared in 15 games for the Steelers and rushed for 1, 291yards on 321 carries (4 YPC) to go along with 85 receptions for 655 yards receiving and 11 total touchdowns. Pro Football Focus had him rated as the No. 9 running back out of 58 qualifying players.