- The Oakland Raiders are a top two favorite to land RB Le’Veon Bell in free agency
- The Raiders have plenty of cap space and a history of making big splashes in free agency
- Is Bell a good fit for Oakland?
Le’Veon Bell is a difference maker.
He’s also a self-absorbed diva, who held the Steelers hostage for 10 weeks before abandoning them when they needed him the most.
— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) January 2, 2019
Despite his obvious character flaws, he’s going to get paid this offseason because there are plenty of desperate NFL teams, with deep pockets, who just can’t help themselves.
Where we headed to next big brudda? @ab84 ??
— Le’Veon Bell⚪️ (@LeveonBeIII) January 2, 2019
One such team may be the Oakland Raiders, who have seen their odds to sign the All-Pro running back shortened to +400 at BetOnline.
Odds on Le’Veon Bell’s Team in 2019
|What team will Le’Veon Bell be on in Week 1 of 2019||Odds at BetOnline|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+500|
|Green Bay Packers||+750|
|San Francisco 49ers||+900|
*Odds taken 1/4
The Colts, who were once favored to land Bell, have experienced the biggest change to their odds, falling from +240 to +900 after winning nine of their last 10 to make the playoffs.
Why the Raiders are in the conversation
First and foremost, they can afford him. Bell isn’t going to be cheap and the Raiders are flush with cap space.
Mentioned during our Le’Veon Bell coverage on @nflnetwork: Teams with lowest committed cap space for 2019 include the #Jets ($99.8M), #Bills ($107M), #Colts ($115M) and #Raiders ($116.1M). Anybody need a featured back?
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) November 13, 2018
They have a history of making big splashes in free agency: Jerry Rice, Desmond Howard, and Charles Woodson immediately come to mind. But most importantly, their roster is devoid of talent and they desperately need an elite player to market once they move to Las Vegas.
Le’Veon Bell remains one of the toughest running backs in the NFL to bring down. pic.twitter.com/W81NJ4VMh4
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 11, 2018
Why the Raiders won’t sign Bell
The Raiders are in complete rebuild mode.
They traded away their only blue chip players Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, and don’t have the necessary pieces in play to maximize Bell’s skill set.
Jon Gruden just finished the first year of his massive 10 year contract, so he can afford to be patient.
— AUDIENCE Sports (@AudienceSports) January 10, 2018
It makes more sense for Gruden to build through the draft and allow a young, core group of offensive players to develop together, similar to what’s happening in Cleveland.
Who else is in play?
Call me crazy, but I could see Bell teaming up with the Steelers biggest rival in Baltimore.
The Ravens have shifted to a run-heavy scheme to suit Lamar Jackson’s strengths, and would greatly benefit from having one of the best satellite backs in NFL history at their disposal.
Even without playing a down this season, Le’Veon Bell leads all NFL running backs since 2014 in yards after the catch.
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 3, 2019
The threat of Bell and Jackson on the field together is a defensive coordinator’s nightmare. Plus, it would infuriate the entire Steelers organization, and you can’t discount the amount of satisfaction that would bring Bell.
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