Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Report: 49ers made a strong push for RB Le’Veon Bell before he agreed to join Jets

Mar 12, 2019 at 9:36 PM--

Note: Story updated with news of the 49ers' push for Bell.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell is headed to the New York Jets as many have speculated over the last couple of days. He is getting a four-year deal worth up to $52.5 million.

There was a rumor on Monday from Chris Mortensen of ESPN that the 49ers might be among the teams interested in Bell. Nothing seemingly came of that rumor and no one really believed San Francisco was a potential destination for the running back.

Apparently, the 49ers made a serious push for Bell with a strong offer before the Jets came out on top, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network also reported on-air that the 49ers were interested in Bell.

That news brings about some questions regarding the 49ers faith in running back Jerick McKinnon, who the team acquired via free agency last year. If true, is San Francisco worried about McKinnon's return from a torn ACL suffered in September or did they just view Bell as an upgrade that was too hard to pass up?

Bell, who played college football at Michigan State, was a second-round draft pick by the Steelers in 2013. During his five NFL seasons (2013-17), he has been selected to the Pro Bowl three times (2014, 2016, 2017) and named first-team All-Pro twice (2014, 2017).

Bell did not play in 2018. He held out for a new contract after the Steelers used the franchise tag placed on him in March of 2018. It was the second-straight year Pittsburgh hit Bell with the franchise tag.

The 49ers reportedly made an exploratory call to the Steelers regarding Bell in September after losing both McKinnon and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to season-ending ACL injuries.

Bell has posted 1,200-or-more yards in three of his last four seasons played. His last full season came in 2017 when he rushed for 1,291 yards on 321 carries with nine rushing touchdowns while adding 85 receptions for 655 receiving yards with two more touchdowns. Bell has rushed for 5,336 yards with 35 rushing touchdowns and 2,660 receiving yards with seven receiving touchdowns through his five NFL seasons.

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