The Westfield Voice

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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

Le’Veon Bell: Done In Pittsburgh

After much speculation about Le’Veon Bell playing this year, we finally got an answer. Bell will not be playing at all this season after not signing the franchise tag at Tuesday’s 4 o’ clock deadline. The Steelers have not really missed the All-Pro running back much as James Connor has put up over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns. This all suggests that Bell will leave Pittsburgh unless they want to put another tag on him which is not likely. The question remains now, where does Bell go next? There are a few options for teams in the market for a superstar running back.

New York Jets:

The Jets have struggled as of late and haven’t seen a playoff berth since Mark Sanchez was quarterbacking the team. They have drafted some good young players as of late including edge rusher Leonard Williams, safety Jamal Adams, and quarterback Sam Darnold. But, this team is in the same division as the New England Patriots so they will need something to help boost their status out of rebuild mode. They have the cap space to bring in a major piece and will probably look to get a new young offensive mind in the head coaching spot.

Signing Bell would give make the Jets very intriguing. It would give Darnold a huge weapon in and out of the backfield due to Bell’s amazing play as a dual threat back. We’ve seen this strategy work before, specifically in Los Angeles with the Rams who drafted Jared Goff high and saw him struggle with Jeff Fisher. The next season, Sean McVay came in and madeTodd Gurley the focal point of the offense which made Goff and the offense much better as a whole. Watch for the Jets to try and acquire Bell in free agency.

Indianapolis Colts:

The Colts have played surprisingly well this year. In a division with three playoff caliber teams, many expected the Colts to struggle, especially without a great defense, running game, lack of receivers, and AndrewLuck coming off a shoulder injury. But the Colts are 5-5 and have looked like an8-8 team. They’ve seen their high draft picks, Quenton Nelson and DariusLeonard play very well this year. Their defense has been bad, 26th in scoring per game and 23rd in yards per game, so many people expect that to be addressed this offseason via the draft and free agency. With the large amount of cap space Indianapolis will have, they should go big. They are in a very competitive division with three teams that have potentially top 10 defenses.Andrew Luck is the best QB in the division and has some solid weapons in TYHilton, Eric Ebron, and Jack Doyle.

Add the dual threat star that Bell is to that formula and head coach Frank Reich should have plenty of fun making the game plan week to week. The Colts already boast Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines, and Jordan Wilkins at the halfback position which provides good depth along with Bell. All three are athletic and play out of the backfield well so the Colts would have a plethora of options with that four headed monster. Defenses would struggle against the two halfback set which would also decrease Luck’s usage as a passer. It would allow him to rely on dump offs and more short yardage passes or screens. The less stress you put on Luck’s arm the better.

Green Bay Packers:

Admittedly, this option isn’t incredibly likely due to cap issues but would be the most intriguing of them all. The Packers are rumored to be moving on from head coach Mike McCarthy come this offseason. Aaron Rodgers just signed a huge deal but has little to show for it due to a lack of weapons.The Packers haven’t hit on a wideout since Davante Adams and should try to address that in free agency. Ted Thompson isn’t the general manager anymore, and Brian Gutekunst has made some big splashes last offseason, such as Muhammad Wilkerson and Jimmy Graham.

Maybe Gutekunst is feeling bold and adding Bell to thePackers would make Green Bay lethal on offense. Rodgers is an elite QB and as mentioned several times before, Bell is an elite dual threat back. He is a playmaker on his own. This would take some pressure off Rodgers and allow GreenBay to rely on their running game more. The defensive struggles aren’t bad as they rank 11th and 16th in yardage and scoring per game respectively. I’m in the philosophy that Green Bay should continue to fix the defense through the draft and add some star power on the offensive side of the ball.

These three are the most interesting to watch but there is still a strong chance he signs with other teams. The Ravens, Dolphins, and even the Buccaneers could be considered real options for the All-Pro back. TheRavens and Dolphins will have a lot of cap space in this upcoming offseason andTampa Bay could create the money and add a legit running game.

One thing is for sure, whatever team gets Bell will improve on offense immediately.

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