Even the most devout Pittsburgh Steelers fan knows that it isn’t a “slam dunk” that All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell will be carrying the rock for the team in 2018.
In their heart-of-heart they probably know that it is a possibility that Bell lines up in the backfield for a different team.
It’s hard to see a Bell-return. Bell wants his money and the Steelers aren’t exactly in a rush to pay Bell what he is looking for, and it’s hard to argue Pittsburgh’s position.
Bell has a lot of mileage and the Steelers just added on another 400+ touches this past season. Considering the shelf-life of today’s NFL running back one can understand, with emotions taken out, why it may be considered a difficult but smart decision for the team to make.
Surely, most headlines you read about any stances taken in contract negotiations between Bell and the Steelers are likely “posturing”, but, let’s assume that Bell is on his way out of Pittsburgh, and not via the retirement route.
If not donning the black and yellow of the Steelers, where could Bell land in 2018?
Armed with a ton of free agent money to spend and a need to bolster the backfield the Colts are a team to watch.
Indy has to face it, despite Frank Gore falling just 39 yards shy of 1,000 on the season, the idea of a 35 (when the season starts) year old feature back doesn’t give anyone the warm and fuzzies.
Sure, Indy could look to the draft and make a splash by drafting Saquon Barkley, but with so many more pressing needs, such as the need for an edge rusher, it’s smarter to go this route.
With a hopefully healthy Andrew Luck back under center, the Colts could take a lot of pressure off their franchise quarterback by adding Bell to the mix.
That would allow Indy to address offensive live and their defense in the draft and free agency
Green Bay Packers
The Packers don’t typically make the biggest splashes in free agency, but they have in the past and with a Aaron Rodgers’ window inching shorter, Green Bay could turn to Bell.
The thoughts of Rodgers-to-Bell and even seeing the Packers’ offense operate with an explosive player as Bell in the fold will melt Fantasy Owners’ hearts.
Sure, it’s not the most likely scenario, but Green Bay may be feeling the pressure to make a big free agent splash and Bell would certainly do that.
San Francisco 49ers
Projected to have the most cap space when free agency opens the Niners will surely look to lock up quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, first and foremost, but after they check that box off of their list they could turn to Bell in free agency.
It makes sense. Carlos Hyde doesn’t look like he’s going to return next season and may find a better opportunity on the free agent market.
Kyle Shanahan will want to add an electric piece to the offensive unit and also give Garoppolo a weapon to work with, allowing San Francisco to focus on other areas in the draft, and maybe make a run at Jarvis Landry should he hit free agency.
Seattle will have to do a lot of work to create some additional cap space, but with the team possibly looking for a change that could see departures of veterans Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, it’s likely that the Seahawks won’t be looking to just dump, they will want to reload.
Adding Bell to a running game that has struggled in recent years would be an instant boost, especially for quarterback Russell Wilson who has struggled to stay upright.
With a new offensive coordinator and a series of changes potentially in the works, Seattle could make one heck of a transition with Bell added to the fold.
The favorites, in my opinion. Sure, the Marshawn Lynch experiment is a failure and is hard for the Raiders to admit that it is, but adding Bell makes things all right.
Jon Gruden likes to be aggressive and the Raiders often are in free agency, so the link to Bell isn’t a hard one to make.
Bell will like the Raiders potential, despite a down year, and see a team on the verge of a Super Bowl run. He may also like the idea of facing his former team in Oakland during the regular season and potentially again in the playoffs.
The Raiders already made one big splash this offseason.
Where do you see Bell landing? Leave your thoughts in the comments below
Bengals Sign Thomas Rawls
The Cincinnati Bengals have signed veteran running back Thomas Rawls, according to a team announcement.
In a corresponding move, the Bengals have waived/injured running back Tra Carson.
With starting running back Joe Mixon temporarily on the shelf due to a knee issue, Rawls will provide depth, alongside rookie Mark Walton, as Giovanni Bernard takes over lead back duties until Mixon returns.
Patriots Sign Cyrus Jones
In a corresponding move, the Patriots released recently signed running back Kenjon Barner. Jones’ new deal with the Patriots, who released him earlier this month, is for a reported two-years, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Steelers’ Antonio Brown Misses Practice, Agent Denies Trade Request
Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receiver Antonio Brown was a no-show for practice on Monday, fueling trade speculation after an interesting exchange on Twitter with a former team employee, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac.
Brown responded to the former employee’s belief that Brown would not be an elite receiver without the help of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger but tweeting “Trade me let’s find out”.
While the absence raises eyebrows, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said that Brown has not requested a trade.
Additionally, Brown’s agent Drew Rosenhaus released the following statement shutting down any rumors that Brown has requested a trade, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
“The tweet [on Monday] was not in reference to anything other than Antonio responding to a person he knows. It was not directed towards a trade, or wanting to be trading. Any idea he was asking for a trade is not accurate, Antonio had a personal matter. I talked to the team about it. His issue was unrelated to the tweet or his relationship with the team. Third, AB has an incredible drive to win. He just wants to win. That’s all that that is, that’s not anything more than him encouraging his coaches and teammates to win. And that’s what his entire focus is on. Any notion, any speculation otherwise, can be put to bed. This is a non-story that has been blown out of proportion. We can end this right here and now.”
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