The Forgotten Star: Where Le’veon Bell should sign in Free Agency

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Le’veon Bell is not coming back to Pittsburgh for 2019. People have seemed to forget that when Bell decides to play, he is a top 5 running back. After holding out all season in an attempt for a contract extension, Bell will look for a long term deal that pays him similarly to what Todd Gurley is paid. These are the teams that need to go for the star running back, and the teams that should stay away from an expensive problem.

Should: The New York Jets:

The Jets finally found their franchise quarterback by trading up in the 2018 draft for Sam Darnold. Darnold was not completely healthy, and the Jets still sucked, but with a promising quarterback and a star running back, they could make a run at a wild-card spot. The best part about this past season was Darnold, as late in the season they played the 11-5 Texans very close, and they put up 38 points in a shootout for Green Bay. Right now, I think Adam Gase was a very bad hire. It made no sense after his time in Miami was extremely mediocre, compiling a 23-25 record over 3 seasons, with one wildcard exit. However, that could change if he has the Jets offense looking like the Broncos when Peyton Manning had his record-breaking season. The Jets have a league-high $88 million dollars in cap space this offseason. Look for them to go after Bell and other game-changing free agents.

Should Not: The Miami Dolphins

Even though Bell spent a lot of time on a jet ski in Miami during his holdout, doesn’t mean it would be a good place for him to play in 2019. The Dolphins should blow the roster up through trades, obtain draft picks for 2020, and stay away from paying veteran players. It is clear at this point that the Dolphins won’t make the playoffs again anytime soon, let alone win a playoff game. I expect Miami to have a top 5 draft pick next year, they also only have about $14M in cap space. When a roster has this many holes, they can’t spend so much on a running back. Hopefully, Bryan Flores gives Kenyan Drake the ball more, he is one of the few players on this team with potential.

Should: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Honestly, I think Bell signing with the Jaguars would be a better move for him, but the Jaguars have no cap space for 2019. Maybe giving Blake Bortles that huge extension wasn’t very smart. Tampa has about $13M in cap space, but they can get to about $23M by releasing Desean Jackson, who no longer wants to be a part of the organization. Bell loves spending time in Florida, and he likes a lot of money, so the fit seems perfect. The Bucs need a running back, and a trio of Bell, Winston, and Mike Evans could be in the hunt for a wildcard sport under new coach Bruce Arians.

Should: The Baltimore Ravens

If Le’veon Bell still wants to get back at Pittsburgh for not giving him a big contract, this is the best way to do so. Baltimore has $30M in cap space for 2019, and they can make even more when they inevitably move Joe Flacco. In the wildcard loss to the Chargers, the Ravens played piss poor offense until the 4th quarter, where they almost completed a historic rally. Baltimore has a very good defense, and the way they are built to win games is to control them from start to finish. Bell could get the ball 30 times a game, and the Ravens would dominate. Lamar Jackson needs to develop more before he is a reliable passer, and giving him Le’veon Bell would instantly make Baltimore the favorites to win the AFC North again.

Maybe: The Indianapolis Colts

Indy has the most cap space in the NFL. They already have Andrew Luck and T.Y Hilton, and they had an outstanding 2018 draft class in Darius Leonard and Quenton Nelson. It is so impressive to pick two rookies and having them both be All-Pros that season. Marlon Mack had a good season, rushing for about 1,100 yards including the playoffs. However, signing Bell would have them as AFC South favorites going into next season. They could also save their cap space for a different player, such as Antonio Brown. I think the Colts should go all in by signing Bell and trading for Brown. You could argue that each season the NFC is a lot more wide open to win, as the Patriots have completely dominated the AFC the past 8 seasons. The Chiefs seem to be the consensus favorite to make the Super Bowl once New England’s reign is over. The only way the Colts could leapfrog those teams would be to go all in for stars.

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