Le’Veon Bell made his thoughts pretty clear during the NFL playoffs this year; he’s an elite NFL running back and he deserves to be paid like one.
Bell probably didn’t pick the best time to stand his ground against the Pittsburgh Steelers, while the 25-year old phenom even threatened retirement at one point. One way or another, however, Bell is making it quite clear that he intends to get paid.
In fact, it might not even have to be by the Steelers.
Per Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, there is a growing possibility that Bell could jump ship and bolt to someone like the Oakland Raiders.
I’d guess he becomes a free agent and goes to highest bidder. Watch for Oakland. https://t.co/aGwXrtTISj
— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) January 23, 2018
With the arrival of Jon Gruden and a potential need for a stud running back to pair with Derek Carr and the passing game, the pairing could make some sense. The Raiders really only have one reliable back at the moment and it’s tough to rely too heavily on a 31-year old Marshawn Lynch.
Should Oakland catch wind that Bell could be had for the right price, they’d have to think long and hard about dumping an aging Beast Mode for arguably the most dynamic rusher in all of football.
Oakland is just one option, and Peter King doesn’t know for sure what Bell will do either way. It’s still highly likely the Steelers do everything in their power to retain their stud running back, while the Raiders are far from the only team that would love to have such a versatile and explosive weapon in their offensive backfield.
Financially speaking, the Steelers aren’t in a great spot, however. Per Spotrac.com, they actually rank 21st in terms of available salary cap cash in 2018. Oakland happens to rank 9th.
As King suggests, this is all something to “watch”. It’ll be weeks before any Bell movement really gains serious steam, while teams above Oakland in the salary cap pecking order like Indianapolis or San Francisco could be interesting to monitor, as well.
It feels like a stretch to imagine Bell jumping ship, though. The Steelers give him a shot at big money and a yearly shot at competing for a title. In the end, these Le’Veon Bell Raiders rumors are probably just that – rumors.