The Pittsburgh Steelers have finally made running back Le’Veon Bell available in a trade, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, after Bell’s relationship with the team has deteriorated. Unhappy with his contract, Bell skipped all of the offseason program and held out into the regular season.
1. Indianapolis Colts: They’re lacking for offensive talent at every position, running back included. Marlon Mack, the supposed lead back, is nursing an injury, but isn’t exactly one of the NFL’s elite backs. Rookie Nyheim Hines looks like a solid third-down back, but doesn’t have the size to be a between-the-tackles banger. Jordan Wilkins has been fine, but not exceptional. Bell would provide an upgrade to just about every positional group in the NFL, but this one would hugely benefit from Bell’s presence. Not only would the Colts want Bell for this year, but they’d surely be interested in locking him up to a long-term deal.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The underwhelming Ronald Jones, a 2018 second-round pick, hasn’t even been playing and shouldn’t be enough to deter the Bucs from trading for Bell and offering the star running back a long-term deal. Even on a prolific passing offense, Peyton Barber has yet to prove efficient. Bell would be an enormous boon to this offense, and would give a boost to the already high-powered passing offense.
3. Detroit Lions: Their committee is deep, but not necessarily equipped with elite talent. Kerryon Johnson is not be ready now for every down work, even if he will be in the coming years. LeGarrette Blount is on his way out of the NFL, and Theo Riddick is a great pass-catching back with limitations in the running game. Enter Bell, a back with zero limitations. Consider also that coach Matt Patricia wants to make the run game a major priority.
4. New York Jets: Sam Darnold and Bell in the same backfield would be a fun combination for years to come. The Jets have money to spend, even if they blew a bunch of draft capital in the process of acquiring Darnold. But they could feel good about the immediate future of their offense if Darnold and Bell were their two stars.
5. Green Bay Packers: Another committee for Bell to upgrade. Aaron Jones figures to be the lead back as he returns from suspension. In the meantime, Jamaal Williams has been underwhelming with Ty Montgomery looking more like a receiver (his position in college) than a running back (his position in the NFL). Not only do the Packers need a running back, but they could also make good use of Bell’s skills with Aaron Rodgers feeding Bell the football.