After sitting out the entire 2018-2019 season due to receiving a franchise tag from the Steelers, Le’Veon Bell is now free to sign where he pleases.
Le’Veon Bell has a ton of faith in himself, with a resume and performance to back it up. Last year marked the second in a row in which he received a franchise tag, but he didn’t play a single game this time around. Bell believes that he shouldn’t settle and accept a contract below his worth, which led to the Steelers placing the franchise tag on him in the first place.
For this upcoming 2019-2020 season, the Steelers have opted to steer away from the the Bell drama. This is largely because of the impressive play of young star, James Conner. Bell was selected for the 2018 Pro Bowl, but Conner was selected for the 2019 Pro Bowl in his absence. That’s got to hurt.
To put things in comparison, Bell’s 2018 Pro Bowl season he played 15 games, and rushed for 1291 yards in 321 attempts for 4.0 yards per. He also logged 655 receiving yards, for a total of 1946 yards on the season. While Bell sat out, Conner didn’t miss a beat. He played 13 games, rushed for 973 yards on 215 attempts for 4.5 yards per. He also was good for 497 receiving yards, putting him at a total of 1470 on the season.
The two Pro Bowl attendees numbers are fairly similar, but to Bell’s credit the Steelers were 13-3 the year he was selected, while they were 9-6-1 in 2018. Then again, football is a team sport, so record can’t dictate everything.
Where Will the Bell Toll Next?
Unlike Antonio Brown’s situation, Bell will not be traded to another team. Instead, because of the franchise tag he received last season (and the lack of one this season), Bell is a free agent that won’t be traded because it would be “breaking the spirit of the tag.” This comes after much speculation that he might be given a transition tag, but there were some discrepancies as to how much his contract might be worth, so it was easier for all parties to just go their separate ways.
Now that Bell is a free agent, the question of where he’ll play next comes up. There are three good candidates for where Bell will land: the Jets, the Raiders, and the Buccaneers. All three of these teams have a good amount of money to throw around this offseason, and a pro bowl running back in Bell is a sure upgrade for any of those teams. Talentwise none of these teams really stand out, but their cap spaces can make some interesting situations for Bell.