- Le’Veon Bell is once again hitting free agency
- Bell is one of the most well-known free agent running backs
- Which teams could sign the former Steeler in 2021?
Le’Veon Bell has certainly been a popular name in recent NFL offseasons. Heading into the 2018 season, Bell wanted a lucrative long term contract from the Pittsburgh Steelers, and did everything in his power to try and swing the leverage in his direction. The running back sat out the entire 2018 season due to this dispute, as the Steelers didn’t budge. During free agency preceding the 2019 season, Bell agreed to a two year deal with the New York Jets.
After his first season with Gang Green, there were rumblings that then head coach Adam Gase wanted to move on from Bell, which kept his name in the news. Nothing ended up materializing until the middle of last season, when the veteran running back was cut by the Jets and signed with Kansas City. He played decently for the AFC champions, but did not turn back the clock with his performances.
At this stage of his career, it doesn’t appear likely that Bell will be receiving the multi year contract offers he sought while in Pittsburgh. He’ll likely be limited to one year, incentive laden deals for teams looking to bring in a complimentary back. Which franchises could be interested in kicking the tires on the two time All-Pro?
Before Bell ended up with the Chiefs, it was rumored that he was considering signing with the Dolphins.
The dots can easily be connected between player and team. The Dolphins have been looking to upgrade their backfield for the better part of three seasons. Bell also calls Florida home, and signing in Miami could prove to be very convenient for him from a logistics standpoint.
29 & truly blessed 🥳🎂🎉💫 I appreciate all the birthday love ❤️💙🤍 pic.twitter.com/3kKQ9NtEf8
— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) February 19, 2021
In his first season with the Jets, Bell proved he could still be a viable option in the passing game, as he caught 66 passes in 2019. Much of Bell’s allure in his career has been tied to his versatile skill set, which would be much welcome with the Dolphins. As quarterback Tua Tagovailoa continues to acclimate to the NFL, he’ll need a security blanket like Bell to check passes down to.
In addition to Miami, Buffalo was another one of the rumored finalists to sign Bell after New York released him. For as great a season as the Bills had last year, their running game (not including mobile quarterback Josh Allen) was inconsistent. They finished in the bottom half of the league in both total rushing yards and yards per attempt.
As their passing game continues to evolve, Bills management will likely want to provide a little bit more offensive balance to take pressure off Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs.
Young runners Devin Singletary and Zack Moss shared the load last season, but the team might want a more seasoned player taking snaps in 2021. Bell could have a resurgent year in Buffalo with all the defensive attention focused on the Bills’ air attack.
The Bears’ offense has long been a topic of jokes and derisive chatter. Regardless of who they bring in, Chicago seems like they’re stuck in neutral trying to manufacture points every week.
They head into the NFL offseason with just as many questions as they’ve ever had, especially in their backfield. Diminutive but explosive runner Tarik Cohen tore his ACL last season, and will be watched closely to see if he has the same burst moving forward. David Montgomery had a strong second half of the season in 2020, but needs to continue to string strong performances together.
A three headed monster at running back usually doesn’t end well for the team or the players involved, but it might be worth it for the Bears. Signing Bell in free agency would give them insurance for both aforementioned players. If Montgomery isn’t getting it done between the tackles, Bell can assume the first and second down bellcow role. If Cohen isn’t getting the same separation as a receiver after his injury, Bell can serve as a primary pass catching back.