Le'Veon Bell

NFL free agency rumors: 49ers made Le'Veon Bell 'strong' contract offer

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USATSI

NFL free agency rumors: 49ers made Le'Veon Bell 'strong' contract offer

It seemed like a quiet Tuesday of NFL free agency for the 49ers from the outside, but that apparently wasn't the case inside the organization.

The team agreed to a trade for, then contract terms with Kansas City Chiefs edge rusher Dee Ford in the early evening, and they also reportedly were in the Le'Veon Bell sweepstakes before the All-Pro running back chose the New York Jets.

Bell's most likely landing spot always was the Jets, but the 49ers evidently were interested, just as they were with Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who reportedly was traded to the Cleveland Browns on Tuesday.

It’s always interesting when a team is mentioned after a superstar trade or signing is made public. What makes the Bell-49ers discovery even more curious is what it says about San Francisco's current roster.

If the 49ers were willing to pursue Bell -- who reportedly landed a four-year, $52.5 million deal with $35 million guaranteed in New York -- what does that say about their backfield? Is the team not sold on Jerick McKinnon’s return to the field after ACL surgery? Is Matt Breida’s durability a concern?

[RELATED: Why 49ers were right to trade for Ford, not OBJ]

Obviously that would require reading between the lines, and 49ers general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan preach that they always closely look at players who could improve the team. Lynch even confirmed that the team “went real hard” for Khalil Mack before the Raiders traded the star linebacker to the Chicago Bears last year.

Beckham and Bell are playmakers who clearly would have improved the 49ers. So of course the team kicked the tires … and even negotiated with the salesperson. A deal just couldn't be brokered.

NFL free agency rumors: Le'Veon Bell plans to sign contract with Jets

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AP

NFL free agency rumors: Le'Veon Bell plans to sign contract with Jets

The biggest name in NFL free agency reportedly is off the board, and he won't wear Silver and Black.

Running back Le'Veon Bell plans to sign a four-year, $52.5 million contract with the New York Jets, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Tuesday night.

The maximum value and guaranteed money are pretty high, too.

NBC Sports California's Scott Bair reported earlier in the day that the Raiders were contenders for Bell, but they evidently weren't interested in a bidding war for him. They believed they were competitive and under consideration by the two-time All-Pro running back, who started following Derek Carr on Twitter, setting off some speculation about the running back's future. That, and former Steelers teammate Antonio Brown's trade to Oakland over the weekend, seemed to play in the Raiders' favor.

Bell did not play in 2018, sitting out the entire season after the Steelers placed the franchise tag on him for the second consecutive season. The 27-year-old was concerned about his workload after accumulating 406 touches in 2017, knowing the Steelers would not retain him when he became a free agent.

[RELATED: Raiders' Las Vegas move a factor in free agents' decisions]

Bell was one of the NFL's most productive players when he did play. In each of his last two seasons, Bell ran for nearly 1,300 yards and had over 600 receiving yards, and would've been a significant upgrade over Marshawn Lynch (if he returns), Doug Martin, Jalen Richard and De'Andre Washington in Oakland's backfield. Alas, Bell is staying on the East Coast.

NFL free agency rumors: Le'Veon Bell contract decision appears imminent

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AP

NFL free agency rumors: Le'Veon Bell contract decision appears imminent

On the second day of NFL free agency's early negotiating period, Le'Veon Bell is the talk of the town.

Well, multiple towns, as the football world awaits the star running back's decision.

Oakland and Las Vegas are two of those towns, since sources told NBC Sports California's Scott Bair over the weekend that the Raiders are interested in the three-time Pro Bowl pick.

Fans of the Silver and Black then will be happy with Bell's latest Twitter follow.

Sources told Bair late Tuesday morning that the Raiders still are "in the hunt" for the ex-Steeler, who would join former teammate Antonio Brown if he chooses the Silver and Black. 

Earlier Tuesday morning, Bell seemed to indicate he knew where he was going. When ex-Raider (and American Ninja Warrior host) Akbar Gbajabiamila asked if he could tell people where Bell was headed, the All-Pro gave him the go-ahead.

Naturally, Gbajabiamila hadn't told anyone on Twitter as of this blog's publication.

[RELATED: Latest NFL free agency rumors, live updates and news]

Perhaps Bell is just waiting for the clock to strike midnight. That's when Bell says he will release his "Life's A Gamble" mixtape. 

The tracklists don't include a team, but at least Bell will have some music to link to when the tweet announcing his destination goes viral.