The amount of money that teams will be willing to pony up for Le’Veon Bell this coming NFL offseason will be fascinating to watch. There is a good chance that Bell could be quasi-blackballed like Dez Bryant was in the free agent market in the past seven months as it doesn’t seem like any team will be willing to back up the Brinks truck for a player that more or less quit on his team this season. Here is a look at how Le’Veon Bell could sign with Patriots this coming spring.
That said, Sports Illustrated’s Connor Orr outlined several teams that will be in the mix for Bell’s services and most of them are teams with a good chunk of salary cap space as well as teams that will be picking in the bottom tier of the 2019 NFL Draft. Orr gave the Oakland Raiders a 3-1 shot at landing Bell with the New York Jets right behind at 7-1, the Buffalo Bills at 20-1, and the San Francisco 49ers at 25-1.
The final team that Orr mentioned was a bit of a surprise, though. He had the New England Patriots with 55-1 odds of taking on Bell.
“Could see Bill Belichick waiting out the market and making a call,” Orr wrote. “Obviously the team wants to develop rookie Sony Michel but Bell would flourish in the James White role. Belichick has fawned over Bell in the past and is never closed-minded when it comes to bringing in talent. It would go against his roster building strategy to spend lavishly on a running back, and it would be shocking to see Bell accept something below market after sitting out the season to avoid the franchise tag.”
Le’Veon Bell could sign with Patriots in spring
White is under contract through 2021 and this is only Michel’s first season. Bringing on Bell would be mean the Patriots were committing a ton of cap space to the running back position – which has been one of Belichick’s least valued positions for years.
However, White is actually the Patriots’ leading pass catcher this season. With Julian Edelman getting up there in age and with the Pats’ history of innovative offenses it wouldn’t be too crazy to see White move into more of a slot receiver role. As we’ve seen with Cordarrelle Patterson this year, the Patriots view many backs and receivers as interchangeable.
The Patriots have thrived with elite pass-catching backs over the years as they made stars out of Kevin Faulk, Shane Vereen and now White. Bell is arguably the greatest receiving running back of all-time, and if Belichick believes he would truly make that much of a difference there is a chance.
Also never discount Belichick’s delight in sticking it to the Steelers (remember the LeGarrette Blount drama a few years back?) and also don’t doubt that Bell would love to stick it to his former team as well. You can bet on where Bell could land next season by clicking the Bet Now button below.