The NFL football world is waiting to see which team will snap up former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell in free agency. The star runner sat out the 2018 season instead of playing for the Steelers (and risking injury). Now he’ll be free to sign with whomever he chooses but the question is who is ready to back up the Brinks truck for him?
Where Will Le’Veon Bell Sign In 2019?
Green Bay Packers +275
Indianapolis Colts +365
New York Jets +435
The Colts are projected to have over $107 million in cap space, which is incredible when you consider that they made it to the second round of the playoffs last season. One thing that appears to be missing from their roster is a big-time back to take pressure off quarterback Andrew Luck. The Colts finished 20th in rushing offense last season and while Marlon Mack came on strong down the stretch, he’s not Bell’s caliber.
Bell is also a competent receiver out of the backfield, which the Colts could use. They have T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron, but not much else in terms of premier pass catchers. Nyheim Hines had 63 receptions last season – third on the team – but imagine what Bell would have done with the ball instead. Add in the fact that the Colts have one of the best offensive lines in the business and Bell would flourish in Indy.
New York Jets
The Jets need an elite running back to make life easier for promising young quarterback Sam Darnold. They also have plenty of funds to work with, having roughly $100 million in cap space. They just hired head coach Adam Gase after the Miami Dolphins parted with him and he needs to weapons to work with.
The Jets have been in rebuilding mode for what seems like the past five years but this could kickstart that growth. They don’t have an elite running back at the moment – Isaiah Crowell is a very ordinary runner and likely to be released – and need to put some sizzle into their product to gain the trust of frustrated New York fans.
Now that the Cleveland Browns have finally begun to make good decisions at multiple levels of their organization, the Raiders might be the worst-run team in the NFL. They traded away both Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, and as a result, the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys both won division titles this past season.
While the trades were catastrophic for 2018, the good news arrives in the fact that the Raiders are sitting on a lot of draft picks and have ample cap space. Derek Carr will get one more chance to prove that he can be a franchise-level quarterback in the NFL, so giving him Bell in the backfield makes plenty of sense. He loves to dump off the ball and Bell could get plenty of work in that manner.
The other especially obvious and logical aspect of a Bell-to-the-Raiders move is that with the team slated to play in Las Vegas in the year 2020, getting Bell on board now for a long-term deal would obviously create a positive public-relations splash the team needs.
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers, a new head coach (Matt LaFleur) and a new direction.
The Packers have long been a Rodgers-centric offense and that won’t change in 2019. At the same time, they’ve consistently tried to pair him with subpar runners. In 2018, it was rookie Aaron Jones. In 2017, it was Jamal Williams. In 2016, it was wide receiver-turned-runner Ty Montgomery. Prior to that, it was Eddie Lacy, Alex Green, James Starks and Brandon Jackson.
Isn’t it about time they invest in their backfield?
If the plan in Green Bay is to surround Rodgers with a better cast, signing Bell would be a step in the right direction.
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