Running back Le’Veon Bell was one of the most electrifying players in the NFL. After sitting down the 2018 season, he signed with the New York Jets in 2019. Five weeks into the 2020 season, he’s a free agent and he is free to sign a contract with any team he pleases. Could the Las Vegas Raiders be one of those teams? Let’s find out.
A quick glimpse at Le’Veon Bell’s body of work
Originally a second-round pick in 2013, Bell was a core player for the Pittsburgh Steelers offense. During his tenure in ‘Steel City’, he racked up 1,229 carries for 5,336 yards and 35 touchdowns. Moreover, he hauled in 312 receptions for 2,660 yards and seven touchdowns. Knowing his value not just as a running back, but as a dual-threat, Bell wanted to be paid accordingly. However, he and the team couldn’t agree to terms and he decided to skip the 2018 season rather than playing under the $12.12 million franchise tag the organization had used on him.
The following year, the Jets saw the playmaking potential Bell could bring to the New Meadowlands and gave him a four-year $52.5 million deal. Things didn’t work out the way the team envisioned and per Adam Schefter of ESPN, they have just released the running back after playing just 17 games for them.
Bell is now a free agent and doesn’t have to go through waivers since his a vested veteran. He can sign with any team he pleases and since the Jets still owe him $6 million, he can choose a playoff contender without having to worry about his compensation.
Le'Veon Bell still has another $6M guaranteed due to him for this season from the Jets and his next deal will offset that pay.
Essentially, teams have a chance to offer Bell a minimum deal and he'll still make a total of $6M for the rest of this season.
He'll have suitors.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 14, 2020
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How are the Las Vegas Raiders running backs faring?
The Raiders currently have a solid running back room. Although Josh Jacobs is just averaging 3.6 yards per carry this year, that had to likely due to the injuries their offensive line has gone through. In fact, the sophomore running back has been clutch when the team has needed him. Meanwhile, backup Devontae Booker has been solid too. He just had seven carries for 62 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs and is averaging 7.1 yards per carry.
Furthermore, Jalen Richard continues to be a valuable contributor for the Raiders offense. Although his numbers might not be eye-popping, he has been reliable when he steps on the field, so the Silver and Black have the running back position covered and there’s no need to bring no one in, even Bell.
It just doesn’t make sense to bring in Bell
We could make the case the Raiders could bring Bell as insurance for Jacobs, but that argument would be weak. We already pointed out that the Alabama standout’s yard-per-average hasn’t been the best. Earlier in the year, he dealt with a hip injury and if that is still bothering him, he will have two weeks to rest since the team is heading into their bye week. Also, Booker has shown he can be a capable replacement if Jacobs were to miss some games.
As talented as Bell is, there is currently no place for him in Las Vegas and that should excite fans. After all, isn’t it great that the Raiders roster is in such a good shape that they don’t need to bring in additional reinforcements? They just beat the Kansas City Chiefs and they did so without players such as guard Richie Incognito and wide receiver Bryan Edwards, who could join the team as soon as next week.
The Raiders arguably have one of the best rosters they’ve had in recent years and they should feel good about themselves knowing they will get a couple of players back soon. They’re good enough that they can afford to pass up the services of Le’Veon Bell.
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