Star running back Le’Veon Bell is free at last. After sitting out all of last season, he’s set to become a free agent.
With a mediocre class of offensive weapons on the free agent market, Bell will have the biggest impact on the Super Bowl futures (in terms of offensive players).
Here are the five teams that are likely to land him and how their odds will be impacted.
Current Odds To Win Super Bowl: +2500 with 888Sport
When is the last time the Green Bay Packers opened with longer odds to win the Super Bowl than the Cleveland Browns (+2000)? It probably hasn’t happened in the Aaron Rodgers era. One way the Packers can close the gap is by signing Le’Veon Bell.
Rodgers has often been paired with subpar runners like Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, Ty Montgomery, James Starks and Eddie Lacy. How about giving the best quarterback in the game a Pro Bowl partner in the backfield?
For one, the Packers have plenty of cap space at about $35 million. Secondly, new head coach Matt LaFleur likes to build his offenses around running backs. He said as much when he said the plan is to run the ball, then let Rodgers “go play.”
When LaFleur was the Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator in 2017, Todd Gurley ended up winning Offensive Player of the Year. If the Packers get Bell, I would expect their odds to dip to +2000.
Current Odds To Win Super Bowl: +7500 with Karamba
The Jets have the second-most amount of cap room of any team right now and have a need at the position, so that makes them a major player for Bell. Isaiah Crowell is expected to get cut, which leaves them with Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire, who combined for 619 rushing yards last season. This team ranked 26th in rushing last season.
The Jets definitely need to surround young quarterback Sam Darnold with some help but the challenge is there isn’t much in the way of receivers in free agency. Golden Tate, Tyrell Williams and Adam Humphries are viewed as the top options.
Signing Bell would give Darnold a great backfield mate not only as a runner but as a receiver too. He’s caught 69 passes or more in three of the last four seasons.
If the Jets get Bell, I would expect their odds to dip to +6500.
Current Odds To Win Super Bowl: +1400 with 888Sport
The Colts have $110 million in cap room, which is why Bell has been linked to the Colts. They also have a need at running back as Bell would be a huge upgrade over Marlon Mack and would offer an excellent receiving option behind T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron.
The challenge here is that head coach Frank Reich and General Manager Chris Ballard preach a team-first mentality. Bell sat out last season because of a contract dispute, which could cause the Colts to balk at signing him.
At the same time, Bell would be a big upgrade to a team that made the second round of the playoffs. Given their cap room, they have to be considered. Signing Bell would bump their odds to +1100.
Current Odds To Win Super Bowl: +1600 with Karamba
The city of Philadelphia has had a propensity of making a splash recently. The 76ers acquired Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, and are all in for a championship run.
The Phillies just signed Bryce Harper to a 13-year, $330 million contract and are ready to contend for a World Series ring. And if the Eagles ink Bell, they would be considered a Super Bowl contender as well.
Bell polled his Twitter followers where he should go just a few days ago and only reacted to one tweet: one that mentioned the Eagles.
The Eagles finished 28th in rushing yards last season and were 31st in yards-per-attempt. The challenge is the Eagles don’t typically spend big on running backs and they have just $2 million in cap space right now.
At Bell’s current price, the Eagles are out. However, if the market is quiet and Bell is forced to lower his asking price, the Eagles could swoop in. They did the very same thing with AlShon Jeffery in the 2017 offseason.
If the Eagles get Bell, I would expect their odds to dip to +1200.
Current Odds To Win Super Bowl: +1600 with 888Sport
The Texans have $78 million in cap space to work with this offseason, so they can frontload a deal for Bell to take the brunt of the salary cap pain now and worry less later on.
He would make the Texans offense one of the most lethal in the league, pairing with Deshaun Watson under center and DeAndre Hopkins out wide. Of course, the offensive line is still a mess but maybe they figure that out along the way.
Bell would probably turn them from being a nice playoff team to a squad that could contend for a Super Bowl. If the Texans get Bell, I would expect their odds to dip to +1400.
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