- Le’Veon Bell will hit free agency after holding out the entire 2018 NFL season.
- Will the running back get the kind of deal he’s hoping for on the open market?
- And which team is the best bet to sign him when free agency begins on March 13?
One of the worst kept secrets in the world was officially confirmed yesterday: the Pittsburgh Steelers will not be tagging Le’Veon Bell this offseason.
Obviously, they would’ve been fools to do so after last the franchise tag resulted in the All-Pro running back sitting out all year.
Bell seems really tore up by the news.
Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty I am free at last ??????
— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) February 20, 2019
So where will Bell end up now that he finally has his wish? Let’s examine the odds.
Odds Where Le’Veon Bell Signs in 2019
|New York Jets||+500|
|San Francisco 49ers||+500|
|Green Bay Packers||+600|
|New England Patriots||+800|
*All odds taken 2/22
But wait, there’s more! The whole reason Bell hated the tag was he wanted long-term security. What are the odds his new home will give that to him? Well, you can bet on that too.
Odds for Guaranteed Money on Bell’s Contract
|Guaranteed Money on Bell’s Contract||Odds|
|Over $35 Million||-160|
|Under $35 Million||+120|
Let’s breakdown how each of these might play out.
Good Bell Fits
The Raiders ascended the odds board last month and remain there for obvious reasons: they have a ton of cap space and the guy calling the shots there is not very bright.
— SBReport (@sbreport) September 19, 2018
Despite mounting evidence that a good offensive scheme is worth more than a good running back (see the Chiefs without Kareem Hunt, the Rams without Todd Gurley, the Patriots every damn year, or these very Steelers without Bell), the homeless Raiders scream the kind of organization that will hand Bell a blank check.
— Anthony Galaviz (@agalaviz_TheBee) February 22, 2019
Speaking of poorly run teams that love to overpay running backs: the New York Jets are on this list too!
Gang Green has shown time and time again that they hate drafting and developing backs. They would much rather acquire a veteran, be it Thomas Jones, LaDainian Tomlinson, Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, or Isiah Crowell.
All of them were on the back end of their careers, yet together they collectively got over $34.5 million for nine years of sub-par service.
Teams That Won’t Fork Over the Dough
The Colts get tossed in every free agent odds pool because of their insane cap space, but they could also make a move for Antonio Brown and will likely go after a player or two in a loaded pass rusher class.
You don’t have to spend all your cap in one offseason, and if the Colts do land a few other prized possessions, the rest of that space could be reserved for retaining guys that are up in 2020, like Eric Ebron, Kenny Moore, and half of their offensive line.
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) November 18, 2018
The San Francisco 49ers are another team that I can’t see making this move. After all, if anyone knows how replaceable running backs are, it’s the son of Mike Shanahan.
Betting on dumb teams to keep being dumb works out more often than not. And if Bell is going to go to crappy teams like New York or Oakland, you can bet it’s because they gave him the guaranteed money he wants.
I really like the Jets to get Bell here, so they can say they gave Sam Darnold at least one weapon to work with, when he inevitably flames out.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.