Our guest writer Owain Jones explores where running-back Le’Veon could be next season…
Didn’t know Le’Veon Bell is a free agent this off season? Where have you been?!
Undeniably one of the leagues prime talents, Bell has been one of the most talked about players of the last 12 months.
Thoughts of where Bell will land started last offseason when he forewent the 2018 season and refused to sign his franchise tag at the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Free agents are open to negotiate with teams from March 13 and speculation has intensified in recent weeks as we edge closer to the new league year.
We are yet to see how sitting out 2018 will affect Bell, with some coaches quick to question his commitment.
NFL General Managers often hold dim views of players who hold out for better money.
The upside of Bell is likely to lessen these views.
The fact he will be your three down back, can catch passes out of the backfield and has rushed for over 1200 yards three times in six seasons leaves little doubt Bell will be productive for your team.
But, for most teams the salary cap simply rules them out – Bell rejected a $70 million deal from the steelers and similar money may be necessary to secure his services.
It is a well known fact teams overpay in free agency, but if you are going to overpay you want a player of Bell’s quality.
With Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley ruling the running back position, Bell will be looking to take back his crown as the best RB in football.
The running back will have an abundance of proposals, he now needs to decide whether he wants money or a ring.
We assess the most viable destinations in the Lev Bell sweepstake.
New York Jets
The Jets are a team seriously lacking in star quality.
New York have been the favourites to sign Bell for months and it isn’t hard to see why.
Given Bell’s asking price and the $102 million of cap space the Jets have.
Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, was hotly tipped to be a success in the NFL, and a running back partner of Bell’s quality will certainly take some pressure off last years third overall draft pick.
New York has always been a desirable destination for players entering the free agency market and if Bell wants the money it is difficult to look past the Jets.
Since Jay Ajayi tore his ACL in October, the Eagles have lacked genuine dynamism in the backfield.
Philly had been heavily linked to Bell, but the rumours have shrunk over salary cap issues.
The Eagles have also being associated with an anticipated trade with the Cleveland Browns for Duke Johnson.
Philadelphia would need to free up a mountain of cap space and would be better served addressing the issue in the upcoming draft.
The Eagles pick at number 25 in the first round and if Alabama’s Josh Jacobs is on the table this could end up being a logical pick.
The Raiders are another team who lack star power and have cap space to work with.
Oakland have $81 million to play with and spending money on Bell would be a wise investment.
The Raiders are confirmed to be spending the 2019 season in Oakland before they head to Las Vegas to their new stadium in 2020.
Acquiring Bell would take away some of the bitterness in the bay area as well as adding a superstar to convince a difficult Las Vegas crowd.
Bell would be that elusive player Oakland desperately need.
Rumours continue that Bell could be staying in the AFC North.
There is genuine hostility between the Steelers and Bell and he would relish any opportunity to triumph over them.
The Ravens have been increasingly linked with Bell post Combine and rumours continue that there is mutual interest.
Adding Bell to this compelling Ravens offense makes it more productive, potent and progressive.
By drafting Lamar Jackson last offseason, the Ravens have added energy to their offence, Bell would add the deception that would make the Ravens brilliantly unpredictable.
Kansas City Chiefs
The departure of Kareem Hunt and injury to Spencer Ware meant the Chiefs lacked depth at running back in the postseason.
It is no secret Kansas City need to add a running back this offseason and it now looks like they have been surveying the Bell situation closely.
Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones has posted a video to Instagram picturing Bell asking what if he was in Kansas City.
The Chiefs have made it known they plan to pay Tyreek Hill but could Bell could be the last piece to what is already an impressive Chiefs attack.
An offence with Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Bell. What if!?