Le’Veon Bell and the Kansas City Chiefs could be a match made in heaven.
Bell, the former All-Pro running back, signed with the Chiefs on Thursday, October 15. Bell spent the past two seasons with the New York Jets, looking nothing like the dangerous running back he was in Pittsburgh.
Now with one of the NFL’s best teams, Bell has a chance to revive his career. However, Bell’s decision to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs brought attention to a significant flaw in the NFL’s 2020 planning.
Le’Veon Bell just signed with the Kansas City Chiefs
There once was a time where Le’Veon Bell was one of the NFL’s best running backs.
A second-round pick from Michigan State in 2013, Bell did it all in Pittsburgh. Bell could change games rushing the ball — he had three seasons where he averaged at least 4.7 yards per carry, although one of those seasons only lasted six games — or as a pass-catching running back.
In all three seasons that Bell made the Pro Bowl, he caught at least 75 passes and totaled over 600 receiving yards. Bell earned first-team All-Pro honors after the 2014 and 2017 seasons; he also appeared on the second-team in 2016.
So what went wrong with Le’Veon Bell in New York? Did sitting out the entire 2018 season, his final year with the Steelers, over a contract dispute ruin his effectiveness? Did Jets head coach Adam Gase simply use Bell wrong?
Whatever the case, Bell has a chance to turn it all around in Kansas City.
Bell adds to a deep Kansas City Chiefs team
The Kansas City Chiefs just proved how the rich get richer, even in leagues with the salary cap.
Le’Veon Bell, who doesn’t turn 28, will spend the rest of this season with the Chiefs. New York is still on the hook for the remaining $6 million of Bell’s 2020 base salary.
The duo of Bell and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the rookie from LSU, is now a fearsome 1-2 punch. Edwards-Helaire picked up 344 yards and a touchdown on 4.2 yards per carry in his first five games.
However, after totaling 138 yards and a touchdown in his debut, Edwards-Helaire hasn’t scored or topped 64 rushing yards in any game since then.
Le’Veon Bell just exposed a major flaw in the NFL’s planning
Kansas City Chiefs fans eager to see Le’Veon Bell make his debut will have to wait longer than anticipated.
The NFL’s rules in the era of COVID-19 dictate that a player needs five straight days of negative tests. The player is then only eligible to play if he’s negative on a sixth day “point of contact” test.
Although the rule makes sense, it unfairly punishes players and the team they sign with. If a player is a street free agent who hasn’t played this year and is working out in their own space, waiting several days to make sure they’re healthy is a fair rule.
Where the rule fails, though, is players like Bell who have been in the system all season. Bell took his COVID-19 tests every day with the New York Jets, so why does he need to wait five days?
This is a rule the NFL should consider changing this season, even with several teams now encountering positive tests. By no fault of his own, Bell is now ineligible to play in Week 6 against the Buffalo Bills.