At this point, it’s all speculation, but it’s really fun to do? After the Pittsburgh Steelers failed to sign LeVeon Bell to a long-term contract before the offseason deadline, he’ll more than likely be playing his last games this season as a Steeler under the Franchise Tag. If Pittsburgh wants him back next year, they’ll have to seriously back up the Brinks truck for him, which they have already shown that they are not prepared to do, at least this year. But before I go into where I believe he’ll be going, let’s cross off a few teams and crush a few fans dreams of having the best all-around running back in the game on their team.
Where He’s Not Going
- New England Patriots ~ I know, I know, this is my team. But I’m a realist. The Pats have about $25 Million in cap space for next season, just below the league average. I don’t recall the last time the team offered a max contract to anyone, including the G.O.A.T, Tom Brady. The only way the Pats end up with Bell would be for this year, but only if the Steelers find themselves on the outside of the playoff hunt early in the season and Billichick dishes out a 3rd round pick for him in typical Pats fashion. HIGHLY UNLIKELY!
- Pittsburgh Steelers ~ This one is obvious, as Bell’s agent has already said that he will be “most likely playing his last year as a Steeler.” Add to that the fact that Pittsburgh only has about $15 Million in cap space for next season and they do have others that they would like to keep in other key positions.
- Baltimore Ravens ~ OH HELL NO! Sure, it would be a huge slap in the face to the Steelers, but the Ravens simply can not afford him. They have about $2 Million less space than the Steelers.
- Cleveland Browns ~ Is it a slap in the face if you go to the worst team in your division? Since I’m in the AFC North right now, let’s cross off the Browns as well, although they will have about $26 Million to spend, look for them to compliment what looks like an already exciting offense with an exciting defense in 2019.
- Indianapolis Colts ~ This team has plenty of cap space but no offensive line. Sure, Bell wants to get paid, but I’m also sure he’d like to be protected as much as possible.
Where He’s Most Likely Going
- New York Jets ~ The team with the most cap space for 2019 is the New York Jets. If Bell is more concerned about securing his financial future, this spot should be #1 on his list. The Jets have an unbelievable $86 Million in cap space, which is $16 Million more than the next team on the list.
- Buffalo Bills ~ The Bills Mafia would LOVE this addition to their team. With $67 Million in cap space for next season, they can definitely afford Bell. The only question for the Bills is if they will be parting ways with Shady this season after some “questionable” incidents regarding his ex-girlfriend and an apparent (alleged) setup.
- Seattle Seahawks ~ The Seahawks have about $58 Million in cap space for next season and they are in dire need for someone, ANYONE to spark their offense! Going into this season, they don’t have a clear #1 running back.
- Las Vegas Raiders ~ The Raiders will be in their inaugural season in Las Vegas in 2019. And what better way to sell more tickets than to have perhaps the best offense in the AFC with Carr, Cooper, and Bell? They don’t have as much as the previous 3, but $42 Million is nothing to sneeze at.
- Houston Texans ~ Could you imagine? This would be a fantasy players dream to have Watson, Hopkins, and Bell on their team. So imagine if you’re actually a Texans fan? Houston actually has about $54 Million in space for next year. So this is an actual possibility!
So You’re Saying There’s A Chance….
- Chicago Bears ~ Howard is a good running back. But Bell is a GREAT running back. And he would be an upgrade if the Bears can squeeze all of the juice out of their $38.5 Million in space to bring him in.
- Green Bay Packers ~ It’s been a long time since the Packers have had a premier back. But I also know they have never had someone as versatile as Bell. And Aaron Rodgers deserves a running back if he’s going to retire as a Packer. Even though they really need to concentrate on defense, this is a hard chip to pass up if he’s there.
- Detroit Lions ~ Let the comparisons begin! Who has the better stop and start? Who shows more patience? The Barry Sanders/LeVeon Bell comparisons would be endless! And Stafford would finally have a running back who could catch too!
Sorry/Not Sorry! Yes, you can afford him, but you don’t have a spot for him!
- Los Angeles Rams ~ Gurley is working out pretty well for you. After signing Cooks, that offense is officially legit. So this cap money will be used in that secondary.
- Cincinnati Bengals ~ Um…no. Mixon and Bernard are a good 1-2 punch….and he’s just not going to the hated Bengals. Money or not, we must have some principles to hold on to!
- Dallas Cowboys ~ The best offensive line in the NFL is still in Dallas. But they have Zeke! So they don’t need Bell. Although I’m still not sure what that receiving corps is going to look like this year.
- New York Giants ~ Even with Barkley, I still think the Giants running game is going to fall short of expectations due to a lackluster offensive line. So look for the Giants to jump on any free agents coming from the line in 2019.
- Arizona Cardinals ~ The Cards are in great shape in 2019 for cap space as they will have about $41 Million. But they have Johnson, who should have been the best RB in the NFL last year if not for an injury. Look for the Cardinals to go after a bunch of wide receivers next year, especially if this is Fitzgerald’s last year.
Heading into the 2019 Free Agency period, LeVeon Bell is going to be the most coveted player in all of the NFL. But where do you see him going?
By Jeff Demers
Host of “The S3” Sports Show