The Pittsburgh Steelers and Le’Veon Bell are at a crossroads. With the Steelers poised to move at least one of Bell or wide receiver Antonio Brown, it looks like they are all but certain to part ways with their star running back in free agency.
Despite sitting out the entire 2018 season, Le’Veon Bell is still viewed as one of the most statistically proficient running backs in the league and will no doubt be a top free agent target. The question: what situation makes the most sense for the team as well as Bell? Here are the seven most likely landing spots for Le’Veon Bell.
The math here is simple: Bell is looking to get paid handsomely. The Colts (with talented quarterback Andrew Luck and visionary offensive mind Frank Reich at the helm) have roughly $125 million in cap space available this offseason. If they’re looking to make a splash with a high-priced yet productive free agent, they need look no further. According to some reports, Bell has the Colts at the top of his list of destinations.
They may not have a lot of success in recent years. They may not have a lot of cap space available, but reports have Bell favoring the Fins as his 2019 destination once the free agency period begins on March 13. Le’Veon Bell is a fan of Miami’s nightlife and would no doubt enjoy the beautiful South Florida atmosphere. Whether he would enjoy it enough to put up with the Dolphins’ annual mediocrity is up in the air.
Green Bay Packers
From the perspective of the clubbing and party scene, Green Bay can’t come close to matching Miami. But it has something most franchises don’t — an absolute thoroughbred of a starting quarterback in surefire Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers.
Pairing Rodgers with a weapon as explosive as Le’Veon Bell would have fans of high octane offensive performances salivating in anticipation. It would introduce a new element to the Packers’ offensive attack that would open up passing lanes for the already prolific Rodgers. They also have a rabid fan base that compares favorably to Steeler Nation.
Bell is likely to miss playing alongside a receiver as dynamic as Antonio Brown. He wouldn’t miss a beat playing with Houston with star receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Combine the two of them with the emerging DeShaun Watson, and Houston could have a triple threat the likes of which the league hasn’t seen since the Cowboys of the ’90s.
The Ravens offer Bell two unique opportunities. The first is the chance to play alongside an effective run-first quarterback in Lamar Jackson. Second, they also offer him the opportunity to beat the Steelers twice a year. Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers had no shortage of animosity between them, so the ability to get back at his former team would no doubt prove attractive to the league’s best running back.
New York Jets
Even though it’s a joke, a $60 million offer like the one above may not be enough to get Le’Veon Bell to New York. But if the Jets up their offer, they may have a legitimate shot at signing the former All-Pro. The team is desperate for offensive firepower, and a big city lover such as Bell would love the Big Apple’s bright lights and always-interesting nightlife.
It could be that the Raiders are headed their way next season, but the Vegas oddsmakers like the chances of Le’Veon Bell ending up in black and silver.
Head coach Jon Gruden loves running backs who can catch passes out of the backfield, and Bell has shown himself to be rather adept at doing so. He’s caught 312 passes in his career for 2,660 yards.
While all these teams have aspects that make them attractive to Bell, he’s shown himself to be a fan of one of these cities above all others: Miami, Florida. The smart money is on Le’Veon Bell ending up wearing orange and aqua green with the Dolphins next season.