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A Surprise Team Is Favored To Land Le'Veon Bell In 2019

LeVeon Bell tossing the ball.

KANSAS CITY, MP - JANUARY 15: Running back Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers tosses the ball forward after gaining a first down against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell enters the season on the franchise tag for the second-consecutive year. Bell will earn more than $14.5 million during the 2018 campaign.

Contract negotiations between Bell and the Steelers organization have stalled twice in back-to-back offseasons. Pittsburgh reportedly offered Bell a five-year deal worth around $70 million, with just $10 million guaranteed.

Bell rebuffed those talks, claiming he should be paid as a "playmaker" and not a running back. In the weeks following their stalled talks, the two sides watched on as the Los Angeles Rams reached a lucrative deal with running back Todd Gurley.

The former Georgia Bulldogs star signed a four-year extension worth $60 million - with $45 million guaranteed.

Gurley's new deal will directly impact Bell's own talks with the Steelers - or perhaps some other team - as he enters free agency following the 2018 season.

According to Bovada, the Steelers aren't the favorite to earn Bell' services for the 2019 season. That honor belongs to the New York Jets.

The Jets haven't drafted a running back in the top three rounds since the team selected Shonn Greene in the third round of the 2009 NFL draft. New York features a running-back-by-committee approach with Bilal Powell, Isaiah Crowell, and standout 2017 rookie Elijah McGuire.

The Jets enter the 2019 season with plenty of cap space, and could certainly be in the market for a top-3 running back in the NFL if the Steelers can't come to an agreement with Bell beforehand.

The NFL's 2019 free agency period will be interesting.