49ers

Le'Veon Bell expects 49ers to be interested in him in free agency

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AP

Le'Veon Bell expects 49ers to be interested in him in free agency

The 49ers reportedly called the Steelers about possibly trading for star running back Le'Veon Bell, and he doesn't believe their interest will stop there.

Bell told ESPN on Monday he thinks the 49ers -- as well as the Jets, Colts, Browns and Eagles -- would be interested in signing him as a free agent this offseason. 

"I know the guaranteed money will be there [in March]," Bell told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. "If a team wanted to, they could definitely do what they needed to do to make me happy and satisfied."

Citing a source, Fowler reported Monday that Bell is set to return to Pittsburgh during the team's bye in Week 7. Bell refused to sign his $14.5 million franchise tag with the Steelers, wanting to preserve his body when he ultimately reaches free agency. 

But, Bell said, he never considered missing the whole season.

"It sucks having to sit out football," Bell told ESPN. "I want to win games and the playoffs. But I've gotta take this stand. Knowing my worth and knowing I can tear a ligament or get surgery at any time, I knew I couldn't play 16 games with 400 or more touches."

During franchise tag negotiations, the Steelers told Bell they would transition tag him this spring, according to Fowler. That would give the Steelers the right of first refusal while the 26-year-old negotiated with other teams. 

If Bell had his way, though, he'd return to Pittsburgh on a long-term contract.

"I could be naïve or hopeful, but at the end of the day, I feel like that's what's going to happen," Bell said. "I don't think they really want me gone. That could be me being prideful. But I'm still holding out hope."

NFL rumors: 49ers' George Kittle ruled out for rematch vs. Cardinals

NFL rumors: 49ers' George Kittle ruled out for rematch vs. Cardinals

Whatever mystery there was surrounding George Kittle's health status for the 49ers' Week 11  game against the Cardinals has now been solved.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported late Saturday night that San Francisco's All-Pro tight end will not play Sunday against Arizona, citing a source.

The aforementioned mystery was some of the 49ers' own doing. After Kittle was listed as day-to-day at the beginning of the week, San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan told Cardinals reporters on Thursday that Kittle would not play Sunday, only to have the organization walk those comments back hours later. 

Kittle sat out the 49ers' Week 10 loss to the Seahawks. He originally was injured on San Francisco's first offensive play in the Week 9 win in Arizona, but still managed to catch six passes for 79 yards and a touchdown in that 28-25 victory. Kittle leads all 49ers' pass-catchers in receptions (46), receiving yards (541), yards after the catch (300) and first downs (28).

[RELATED: 49ers-Cardinals predictions: SF should win despite injuries]

Ross Dwelley is expected to start in Kittle's place at tight end against the Cardinals on Sunday. While Shanahan and the 49ers have confidence in Dwelley, there's no question San Francisco's offense will be negatively impacted by Kittle's absence.

49ers-Cardinals odds, predictions: Betting lines, picks for NFL Week 11 game

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USATSI

49ers-Cardinals odds, predictions: Betting lines, picks for NFL Week 11 game

Everything hasn't been coming up roses for the 49ers in the last week thanks to some injuries and an overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

The team will face the Cardinals for the second time in three weeks in Week 11. After failing to sack Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray in the first meeting, Nick Bosa will try to do better the second time around.

Murray has been sacked 31 times, which ranks as the third-most in the league. San Francisco, on the other hand, ranks second in the NFL in total sacks (35) and yards allowed per game (251.6).

Here is how NFL writers across the league see the 49ers-Cardinals game shaking out:

Line

Caesars: SF -480
Consensus: SF -500
Westgate: SF -550
Wynn: SF -550

[RELATED: How to watch 49ers-Cardinals Week 11 game online, on TV]

Predictions

Josh Weinfuss, ESPN: 49ers 31, Cardinals 20
Nick Wagoner, ESPN: 49ers 27, Cardinals 17
Michael David Smith, PFT: 49ers 16, Cardinals 13
Michael Florio, PFT: 49ers 34, Cardinals 21