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NFL Draft

Should Ravens Sign Le’Veon Bell?

  • The Draft Network
  • September 7, 2021
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When it rains, it pours. The news just keeps getting worse for the Baltimore Ravens and their running backs. By now, you’re well aware that sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins is out for the season with a knee injury. Baltimore’s depth at the position took a further blow on Monday when it was reported that fellow running back Justice Hill tore his Achilles in practice recently, and will also miss the entire 2021 campaign.

Hill wasn’t set to be Baltimore’s top ball-carrier this season, but his injury further complicates things for a team that absolutely loves to run the ball on offense. Baltimore now enters their first official game week with just two healthy running backs on the roster—newly-promoted starter Gus Edwards and Ty’Son Williams, a second-year undrafted free agent out of BYU that has never touched the ball in a regular-season game. The Ravens can’t possibly enter Monday night’s Week 1 contest against the Las Vegas Raiders with just two players at the position. This fact doesn’t appear to be lost on general manager Eric DeCosta, who quickly set up workouts for a pair of veteran tailbacks in the form of Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman.

I’m here to tell you that the Ravens should absolutely sign Bell to a one-year contract. In fact, they shouldn’t let him leave town. They should get this deal done as soon as possible.

That’s not an indictment on Edwards or my faith in him. In fact, I feel pretty good about his ability to step into the RB1 role and carry the load. Edwards had himself a nice season in 2020 when he totaled 723 yards on just 144 carries, and scored six touchdowns.

For as long as he’s been in Baltimore, offensive coordinator Greg Roman has preferred to utilize two running backs on a pretty consistent basis. Bell could be the type of weapon Roman needs in order for him to stick with that philosophy on offense.

Look, Bell is not the guy he was in 2016 and 2017 when he racked up an astounding 3,830 total yards as both a runner and receiver. We would be foolish to think he’s still capable of putting up godly numbers such as those, but he did look like he still had something left in the tank in Kansas City a year ago. After basically begging Adam Gase and the New York Jets to release him in October of 2020, Bell signed with the Chiefs and played out the remainder of the year there. He ended up playing in nine games while averaging a respectable four yards per carry, and angering Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s fantasy managers in the process (I was one of them).

Skeptics would question how much the 29-year-old Bell has left to give. There’s no denying Bell hasn’t been quite right since his infamous 2018 holdout. From there, the Jets (we’re looking at you, Gase) were a terrible landing spot for him and joining a team in the middle of a season, as he did with Kansas City in 2020, always makes for a difficult situation.

The best part about this potential pairing is that the Ravens wouldn't need Bell to be a bell-cow (excuse the double entendre). Those days are long behind him. But the thought of using Bell as a complementary weapon to Edwards, in the same backfield with Jackson, in a Roman-led offense sounds very appealing. Yeah, sign me up for that.

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