If I was to tell you that Le’Veon Bell was to become a free agent, you would want your team to sign him, right? You would be crazy if you didn’t try to sign one of the top running backs in the league. He can run, he can catch, he has vision and patience. These are all extremely good qualities in a versatile running back and it’s what will make Bell a hot commodity if he hits the open market.
Nothing is set in stone yet.
He has already expressed his desire to, “be a Pittsburgh Steeler for my whole career.” He doesn’t want to leave and I’m sure the Steelers don’t want him to either, so a deal should realistically get done. However, if a deal doesn’t get agreed to, then Pittsburgh has until March 6th to place the franchise tag on Bell. This tag would pay him $14.5 million this upcoming season. The star running back held out last preseason before signing the franchise tag, but this year is different. It has been reported that he is considering sitting out 2018 or retiring if he receives the tag again. I can’t foresee the future, but either way, something is brewing in the Steel City and we are all left waiting to see what will happen next.
My only hope is Bell pries himself away from the Steelers’ grip and becomes a free agent. If this happens, Cleveland should take a long, hard look into acquiring his services. They have more than enough money to throw at him. The juice is worth the squeeze! I would pay the man whatever he wanted. Le’Veon Bell is the true definition of a workhorse. He has averaged 24.9 touches a game since being drafted in 2013 out of Michigan State. In five years, he has accumulated 7,996 total yards, 42 touchdowns and only eight fumbles in his brief career so far. He is just 26-years-old and has more tread on the tires.
Injury history may be a minor concern, but I wouldn’t be too worried. A preseason Lisfranc injury forced him to miss three games as a rookie and a torn MCL in 2015 cut his season short. He was suspended for the first four games of 2016 and sat out the season finale of this year, yet he is still one of the top rushers in the league. Have you ever seen him play? Such poise. Le’Veon has the ability to literally give them what the offensive line gives them. His ability to sit behind and follow his blockers with such patience is like an art; it’s beautiful to see.
As glorious as it would be to see Bell in a Browns uniform, is it realistic? Probably not, but there is always hope. Pittsburgh would be dumb to let him walk out the door without at least trying to work out a deal, so I would say there’s a 85-90% chance that he remains a Steeler. However, if the running back does become a free agent, I think Cleveland has just a good of chance as any other team to sign him. We have a couple things going for us. The Browns have the cap space to sign him. He was born in Columbus, Ohio and grew up here, so we have the Ohio native narrative and we have his professional offensive coordinator. Bell doesn’t know any other offense besides, Todd Haley’s. I’m not saying he can’t learn another offense, but familiarity could be an advantage. Ultimately, the Browns need to do everything in their power to lure Le’Veon Bell to Cleveland.