We’ve reached the point in this Le’Veon Bell fiasco where the Steelers are anonymously soliciting calls for a trade in hopes of plugging at least one of the many leaks that have sprung aboard their sinking ship.
We’ll get to potential destinations in a second—just about everyone has an idea (or five) on where Bell could go. But let’s make one thing clear: The most obvious, and likely, destination is Pittsburgh. It’s not going to be a very attractive proposition for a team to hand over valuable draft capital for a player that is still concerned about keeping his body fresh for free agency. Bell cannot sign an extension this year, and it’s hard to imagine the club that inherits Bell would be smitten enough to promise him a long-term deal down the road without seeing how he functions in their offense.
All that being said, which teams might be crazy enough to do it? Tenured Buccaneers scribe Rick Stroud already shut the door on Bell becoming part of the Ryan Fitzpatrick variety hour. But maybe…
1. Patriots: Obviously. Bill Belichick has waxed poetic about Bell in the past. The Patriots have destroyed teams in years prior thanks to their armada of pass-catching running backs. A ho-hum offense in 2018 that is desperate enough to trade for Josh Gordon may also be interested in adding a transcendent, versatile offensive weapon.
2. Colts: The AFC south is still wide open. Bell could keep Andrew Luck from scrambling and release some of the pressure on the offense. He would slide right into an offense that is relying heavily on Jordan Wilkins and Marlon Mack.
3. Washington: They beat Green Bay and are tied atop the underperforming NFC East, which could make room for a dark horse. Bell opens up the offense for Alex Smith in a way that Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson cannot.
4. Anyone else in the AFC East: Two teams (Jets and Bills) have rookie quarterbacks who would benefit greatly from a versatile and heady checkdown option. The Dolphins are a surprise 3-0 and could be looking to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the division.
5. Packers: Green Bay has been open-minded to a point under new general manager Brian Gutekunst. Aaron Rodgers needs more than what is currently being provided. In three games the Packers’ RB committee approach has yielded just one 100-yard performance.
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2. The 49ers lose, and Jimmy Garoppolo was likely lost for the season.
3. Josh Allen played well, and the Bills are thumping their chests after demolishing the Vikings.
4. Earl Thomas is not fooling around. Will he manage to force his way out of Seattle?
5. The Cardinals wildly plugged in Josh Rosen for his first NFL action in the fourth quarter, down just a few points.
6. Carson Wentz is back. Do the Eagles roll from here?
Adrian Peterson is in the hunt for the NFL’s rushing lead three games into the season… A Cleveland Brown leads the league in sacks and a Texas Tech quarterback who came from a system everyone thought couldn’t translate to the NFL is leading the league in touchdown passes by five. It’s like we predicted right? Every day in the 2018 NFL is a winding road, and the league is lapping it up.
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