Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, citing league sources, reports that the Eagles are among the teams interested in Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell. However, no trade is considered close or imminent at this time and there are obvious obstacles that need to be overcome for a trade to be a possibility.
According to La Canfora, the Jets and 49ers have also made exploratory calls regarding Bell, but nothing has advanced beyond a preliminary stage. La Canfora admits that the injury to 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo has likely impacted their level of interest in trading for Bell.
As for the Steelers, La Canfora says they have no plans to rush a trade involving Bell. La Canfora says that it’s unclear how Bell would be welcomed back into the Steelers’ locker room and there are concerns about what kind of shape he’s in.
Pittsburgh is reportedly looking to get more than a third-round pick for Bell, seeing as they would net a third-round compensatory pick for him by allowing him to depart in free agency next year.
Sources have told La Canfora the Steelers’ preference is to trade Bell to an NFC team.
The Eagles have some salary cap issues, but La Canfora mentions that they could mitigate this by including QB Nick Foles in the deal.
Another interesting possibility suggested by La Canfora is for the Steelers to trade Bell to the Seahawks for S Earl Thomas. However, sources have told him that there has been no contact with Seattle up to this point.
It’s worth mentioning that Bell would have to sign his franchise tender in order for a trade to be completed.
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.
We’ll have more regarding Bell as the news is available.