News came through this week that broke the hearts of many a fantasy football participant – Le’Veon Bell wouldn’t be playing in week one.
Ok, so that’s a by-product (though a serious one if you selected him in your team and didn’t also pick up James Conner), but the no-show of Bell to the Steelers pre-season training will be a worry to the Steelers organisation and fans. Last year, Bell turned up just before the week one game and whilst he started slowly he ended up having a good year. With his skillset he is undoubtedly an important part of the Steelers attack. This year, the message from Bell’s camp is that he’s protecting his long-term future. This does not bode well for week one, or any other week for that matter.
We’re all watching this soap opera play out, but as a 49ers fan on a flight home last night it suddenly dawned on me, what if the 49ers traded for him? They’ve lost their pass catching back to injury for the season (Jared McKinnon) so need a replacement, they’ve got the cap space to pay Bell a decent chunk of change (currently the 49ers have about $40m in cap space) and could plug him into an offence that presumably would suit Bell’s skillset.
We’ve seen one big late pre-season trade happen with Mack leaving Oakland for Chicago so what are the chances of another? Probably quite slim to be honest but if the Steelers want to salvage anything from their time with Bell this could be an option. The 49ers could send them a first round pick next year and Pittsburgh can lean on James Conner and the rest of their offence to get them through 2018 (lets not forget they still have Antonio Brown, Juju Smith-Schuster and the emergence of rookie wide receiver James Washington).
I’m sure it’s more a case of me dreaming on a late flight more than anything but it wouldn’t be the strangest things to have happened this off-season, just ask any Raiders fan.