To put it bluntly: no, there’s no reason the Eagles should pursue Le’Veon Bell in a trade. For a few reasons, but mainly because he wants money that the Eagles simply can’t provide right now.
Bell’s whole reason for sitting out in the first place is because he wants a long-term deal from the Steelers. The Steelers reportedly offered Bell a long-term contract at the beginning of the 2017 season, and according to NFL Network, this deal would have paid the running back over $30 million in its first two years. For some reason, Bell declined this offer and opted to play on the $12 million franchise tag. The length of the deal was never specified, but it was reported that Bell would have made an average salary of $12 million and $42 million over the first 3 years.
I’m honestly not sure what Lev Bell is doing. He wants security, yet when he’s offered a long-term deal to stay with the team that drafted him, he turns it down. It sounds like he’s just playing for the money. That’s great and all, but do the Eagles really want someone like that on their team? I doubt it.
The Eagles have barely any cap room as it is, and if Wentz plays lights out this year he’ll probably get paid at the end of the season as well.
I’m a firm believer in the “running back by committee” formula. It worked for the Eagles last year, and as long as Wentz is under center it will continue to work for them. A franchise quarterback can compensate for a lot of deficiencies on an offense, and a 3-down back is one of them. Just look around the league; Aaron Rodgers has never had a 3-down back and Brady and the Pats have been running a committee-based backfield for years.
The key to success in today’s NFL isn’t about having a franchise running back, it’s about having a franchise quarterback. The Eagles have theirs, so I really see no need for someone like Lev Bell.
I’m not saying Lev Bell wouldn’t be a great addition if he came here, it’s just unrealistic. If this were Madden, hell, I’d make this trade in an instant. But to think the front office can pull this off without any collateral damages is just idiotic. Players like Brandon Graham, Ronald Darby, Nelson Agholor, and Jason Peters would all have to be cut at the end of the season, and I’m sure even more than that would have to be cut.
I think fans started to panic a little bit when both Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles were out for the Colts game, but the Eagles offensive line and play design is really what their running game is based off, not the actual running backs. Despite not having their top two backs, the Eagles still ran the ball 32 times with the running backs that were available. So clearly, regardless of injury, Doug Pederson still has confidence in his running game and is willing to stick with it throughout a game.
Both Ajayi and Sproles are practicing again this week, making a Lev Bell trade even more unrealistic. There’s just no room for another running back on this roster, and I don’t believe Howie is willing to give Bell the money that he wants.