Ravens emerging as favorite to sign Le’Veon Bell?
Le’Veon Bell will have no shortage of potential suitors when hitting free agency, and there’s been some chatter this week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Ind., that the Baltimore Ravens conceivably could emerge as a front-runner.
According to The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec, despite the Ravens indicating the team would likely not get involved in the Bell sweepstakes, the buzz continues to build.
In a piece published Friday, Zrebiec lays out how Bell could be a perfect match for the Ravens as the team attempts to build around Lamar Jackson.
Everything Ravens officials have said this offseason suggests they won’t be involved in the bidding for Le’Veon Bell. But the buzz about it remains, as does team’s need to find dynamic three-down back. https://t.co/nH7Twa45Pm— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) March 1, 2019
The case with Bell, of course, is money. The Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly offered the then-disgruntled running back a five-year, $70 million contract last season, which did not pique Bell’s interest, and he ultimately sat out the entire 2018 season.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert indicated this week the team would no rule out signing Bell after he explores his free-agency prospects, but odds of the running back returning to the fold are slim to none given the acrimonious holdout saga that played out.
The Ravens have the salary-cap space to sign Bell, but the team has other needs as well. Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta is said to want to keep a healthy salary-cap situation going forward. Signing Bell to a deal that pays him $15 million-plus per season obviously would hinder that goal.
As things stand, Gus Edwards is expected to be atop the Ravens’ depth chart at running back after a solid 2018 season, especially after restricted free agent Alex Collins was arrested Friday following a car accident near the team’s facility. Such an incident makes it increasingly unlikely that the Ravens will bring him back.
Interestingly, Baltimore offensive coordinator Greg Roman indicated earlier this month that the team is on the lookout for an “elite” running back. Bell would most certainly fit the bill.