Why the Eagles should target Le’Veon Bell in 2019 free agency
On February 20th, The Pittsburgh Steelers announced their controversial decision to allow running back Le’Veon Bell to test free agency.
Steelers General Manager, Kevin Colbert told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, “Le’Veon is still a great player. We can’t afford to use any other type of tags. Le’Veon will be an unrestricted free agent at the start of the new league year.”
The superstar running back will finally reach free agency for the first time in his career. Bell, who played under the franchise tag for two consecutive seasons, sat out the entire 2018 NFL regular season due to the Steelers lack of long-term commitment.
Bell’s Tweet after the announcement:
Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty I am free at last 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾
— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) February 20, 2019
With Bell’s impending free agency arrival, many suitors will get their checkbooks ready in hopes of acquiring the All-Pro RB’s services. However, there is one team that comes to mind when discussing Bell’s future in the NFL, and that’s the Philadelphia Eagles.
Last season, the defending Super Bowl Champs finished 28th in total rushing yards. Moreover, the team’s leading rusher was undrafted rookie running back, Josh Adams, who finished the season barely rushing for over 500 yards. Jay Ajayi’s knee injury history provides uncertainty surrounding his career longevity. Darren Sproles’ advanced-age negates him from the starting role. Therefore, the Eagles desire for a dynamic back intensifies due to lack of options. Yes, the Eagles could utilize a draft pick to select a franchise running back, but those draft picks might be more effective targeting offensive lineman due to the aging core the Eagles already have on the roster. Indeed, there are other quality alternatives in free agency besides Bell: Mark Ingram, C.J Anderson and Telvin Coleman to name a few. Nevertheless, the Eagles need a slam-dunk acquisition and who better than the 3x Pro-Bowler?
In 2017, Le’Veon rushed for 1291 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging 4 yards per carry. In addition to his rushing production, Bell’s remarkable hands make him a dual-threat coming out the back field. He has caught 312 passes for 2660 yards during his 5-year career. Bell’s versatile arsenal establishes himself as the number one ranked free-agent according to nfl.com.
Not to mention, the Eagles have not had a 1000-yard back since drafting Carson Wentz. Additionally, the last running back to finish with over a stack was LeSean McCoy, who did it in 2014 under former Head Coach Chip Kelly. Yeah, that’s how long it’s been.
When you watch Wentz play, he makes you forget the fact that he has only been in NFL for three seasons. In other words, Carson is a young, developing quarterback whose talent is so astronomical that viewers miss-sight that this guy still needs help around him. Wentz’s draft-mates Dak Prescott and Jared Goff have had the luxury of turning around and handing the football off 25-times to a game-breaking superstar back. Now, it’s Wentz’s turn. The Eagles are 22-5 when Wentz receives over 100 yards in run support over his career, and that’s without an elite back like LeVeon.
The Eagles need to sign Bell because of Carson’s lack of ability to last a full NFL season. Signing Bell takes pressure off of Wentz while also limiting his hits. With Wentz handing the ball off, the Eagles possess a greater chance of reaching and winning the Super Bowl.
Last season, out of the top 10 rushing teams, seven were playoff teams. The newly-crowned Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots led the the entire postseason in rushing yards identifying the correlation between running the ball and winning playoff games.
Yes, the Eagles made the tournament last year without an average running game, but imagine how dangerous this team would potentially be with Bell and Wentz behind that solid offensive line.
If the Eagles want to compete for another Lombardi Trophy, they need to address the glaring weakness at running back. The Eagles were the third ranked rushing team in the league when they finally won the franchise’s first Super Bowl Title in 2017.