It is the Wednesday of NFL Week 2. Teams are prepping for their next games, your fantasy waiver wire cleared this morning, and Le’Veon Bell is still nowhere to be found for the Steelers.
Ahead of a tough AFC match-up with the Kansas City Chiefs, the Steelers have taken Bell off of the depth chart entirely, until he returns.
While Bell has kept almost completely quiet (minus one single-emoji tweet on Sunday), some think he could wait all the way until Week 10 before joining the team. That is the last possible time he can come back and still hit free agency next year.
Bell is looking for a massive, record contract for a running back. The Steelers have offered him a franchise tender for the second straight season, but won’t commit to a long-term deal for the 29-year old back.
James Conner’s Week 1 performance probably hasn’t helped change either side’s mind here. The former Pitt star went for 135 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, and 57 more yards through the air for the Steelers in their tie with the Cleveland Browns. Bell seems content to miss some of the hits that famously end the careers of most running backs early.
A Le’Veon Bell trade could make sense, and one NFL.com writer has what he thinks is the perfect match: the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers’ 2018 season flashed before their eyes, when Aaron Rodgers went down with what looked like a serious knee injury mid-way through the second quarter on Sunday night.
Instead, he came back in the second half and led Green Bay all the way back from a 20-0 deficit to complete an incredibly dramatic 24-23 win.
The win, and more importantly Rodgers’ return, soothed the nerves of Packer fans, but the team still has some issues. The Bears carved up the new-look Mike Pettine defense in the first half, the offensive line struggled with Khalil Mack during that time frame, and once again, the rushing attack was meager at best, with 69 total yards on the ground for a 3.8 average.
Rather than lean on the trio of Jamaal Williams, Ty Montgomery, and eventually Aaron Jones when he returns from injury, NFL.com’s Adam Rank offered up the idea of a Le’Veon Bell trade as one that the Packers should make, so that they don’t make this second-life they were granted by Rodgers’ return go to waste.
The Packers need to trade for Le’Veon Bell.
Do whatever it takes. Send a first-round pick. Send four. Who gives a (expletive)? You own the Saints’ first-round pick, in addition to your own, in next year’s draft anyway. The Packers are on the verge of the Super Bowl. One that looked like it was going to be ripped from you for a few moments there on Sunday night. Embrace this. The Football Gods gave you a second chance. Make the most of it.
The Packers have two first-round picks after trading with the Saints this spring, a rare commodity for a team that good. And as Rank says, neither pick should be all that high, since the Packers and Saints should both at least be playoff contenders.
The value of running backs isn’t what it once was, but Bell is a rare talent at the position, and the Packers back-by-committee hasn’t worked for a few years. The Packers haven’t finished in the top half of the NFL in rushing offense since 2015.
For the Steelers, Rank thinks losing the locker room headache could be worth it, especially considering Conner’s success and the offensive line’s apparent disdain for Bell. If they can get back a first rounder, and probably a few more assets, for what would have been maybe six or seven games plus playoffs, before Bell inevitably walks, it could definitely be an attractive option.
For now, though, there is no indication that a Le’Veon Bell trade is in the works with the Packers or any team.