Le’Veon Bell rumors: 5 best fits in NFL free agency

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With the chance he’s available on the open market, here are the five best free agency fits for Le’Veon Bell.

After the Steelers placed the franchise tag on him last offseason, Le’Veon Bell exercised his leverage and held out until just prior to Week 1. But after a relatively slow start, with less than 90 rushing yards in four of the first five games, Bell still finished third in the league in rushing (1,291 yards) along with 85 receptions for 655 yards.

Bell offered a flimsy threat to retire or sit out the 2018 season if the Steelers place the franchise tag on him again this year. He has since backed off of that, with optimism about negotiations on a long-term deal to stay in Pittsburgh. It would be a surprise if he’s not back with the Steelers, likely on a multi-year deal, but there is the possibility Bell is available without restriction on the open market.

If it materializes beyond the Steelers, Bell’s free agent market could be very interesting. Here are the five best fits for him in that scenario.

5. San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers have the most cap space in the league going into free agency (nearly $116 million, via Over The Cap.com), pending what they do with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo via the franchise tag or a multi-year deal. Running back Carlos Hyde is set to hit free agency as well, and it seems unlikely he’ll be back in San Francisco.

So there is a theoretical need at running back for the 49ers, and they could pony up for someone in free agency rather than just turn to the draft. Bell would probably be on the radar then, with money as no real object.