Reasons for and against the Green Bay Packers signing Le’Veon Bell.
The Green Bay Packers could look to sign a running back in free agency.
As expected, Le’Veon Bell will become a free agent this offseason. It’s not often a player as talented as Bell becomes available.
After sitting out the entire 2018 season, Bell will become a free agent this offseason, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.
So, should the Packers be interested?
Let’s take a look at the reasons for and against signing Bell.
Reasons for signing Le’Veon Bell
Is running back the Packers’ biggest need? No. But this is a rare opportunity to sign one of the league’s best running backs in free agency. The expectation is that new head coach Matt LaFleur will place a greater emphasis on the ground game, and a combination of Bell and Aaron Jones in the backfield would be as good as any in the NFL.
The Packers need to add as many difference-makers as possible to the roster. Players that make game-changing plays at key moments. Bell can do that.
Bell is a three-time All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler. He’s a tough player to defend due to his ability to both run between the tackles with his unique, patient running style, and also catch passes. Few running backs offer the receiving ability Bell does.
Bell has hit 1,000 rushing yards three times in his past four seasons (he missed 10 games the only season he didn’t), and also had a minimum of 616 receiving yards in each of those three seasons. In 2014, Bell had 1,361 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns to go with 854 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns.
Bell is also just 27 years old and will be fresh as he didn’t play the entire 2018 season.
Reasons against signing Le’Veon Bell
The most obvious reason against signing Bell is the contract. He’s turned down some big contract offers in the past, as Ian Rapoport of NFL Network noted last summer.
If Bell wasn’t willing to accept that offer last year and decided to sit out a season to get a better deal, what will it take now?
The Packers have a healthy salary cap with money to spend this offseason, but they are nowhere near the league-leaders in cap room. According to Over The Cap, the Indianapolis Colts have approximately $107 million to spend compared to Green Bay’s $35 million. The New York Jets have over $102 million and the Cleveland Browns begin 2019 with just under $80 million to work with.
One of those teams could — and probably will — offer Bell a contract the Packers can’t afford to match.
While Bell is an elite running back, he has only played all 16 regular season games once. He has missed multiple games due to both injury and suspension throughout his career, and that has to be considered before offering a huge contract.
An argument can certainly be made that the Packers would be better off spending their money at other positions of need, then adding a running back on the third day of the draft. With Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, they already have talent in the backfield.
I think it’s highly unlikely the Packers sign Bell. They may show initial interest, but it’s hard to imagine the Packers will be able to match the contract offers he’ll likely receive around the league, even if they really wanted to.
It won’t be a surprise if the Packers avoid the running back position completely in free agency, instead turning to the draft to add depth.
What do you think? Should the Packers have interest in signing Bell in free agency?