Freed from the shackles of the New York Jets and Adam Gase, Le’Veon Bell is looking for his next destination. According to a report from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, he has three options in mind: The Kansas City Chiefs, the Miami Dolphins, and the Buffalo Bills.
Fowler adds that Bell’s decision could come as early as today—so watch for things to escalate quickly.
From 2014-2017, Bell was a star running back, one of the best in the league. He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and twice named All-Pro. He averaged 1120 rushing yards, 7 rushing touchdowns, and 4.5 yards per carry in those four seasons, and also had an average receiving slash of 67/565/2.
Following the 2017 season, his second All-Pro season, Bell entered a one-way, acrimonious contract dispute with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He would eventually hold out for the entirety of the 2018 season, refusing to play on a franchise tag so he could sign a multi-year deal the next year.
Bell’s wait paid off with a four-year, $52 million contract with the New York Jets, but he didn’t ever come close to the same success he had in Pittsburgh. He was still a key receiver for the team, but rushed for a career-low 3.2 yards per carry. After only making two game appearances in his second year, the Jets pulled the plug and granted him his release.
How to explain Bell’s Jets performance? You could argue for age, with Bell first entering the league seven years ago, but he’s still only 28, and took a full year off. Rust could be a factor, but Bell never hit his stride late in the 2019 season. Maybe it’s the offensive line to blame—they were so bad, the Jets replaced the entire unit in the offseason. It could be that Bell’s patient style is only effective with an offensive scheme like Pittsburgh’s. Or maybe it’s that Adam Gase, coach of the worst team in the NFL, is really bad at his job—other former players like Ryan Tannehill and Kenyan Drake have shined when they moved on from his team.
There’s no question that the Buffalo Bills need more out of their running backs. As a unit, they’ve rushed for 356 yards and a single touchdown on 88 carries, a pedestrian 4.0 yards per carry. Take out T.J. Yeldon, who had a 34-yard scamper this week, and it looks even worse: Devin Singletary and Zack Moss have rushed for just 3.67 yards per carry.
Is there room for Le’Veon Bell with the Bills? Even with the team’s focus on 10 personnel, undoubtedly. The team has a history of using veteran running backs, and Bell would be a great low-risk reclamation project. It still might be a luxury signing, and it’s arguable that the Chiefs (considered a Super Bowl favorite) or the Dolphins (in Miami, currently running seventh-round pick Myles Gaskin) might be Bell’s top choices.
But Bell and the Buffalo Bills? It doesn’t sound too bad.