Le'Veon Bell has been acting almost like an NBA player for the better part of the year, flirting with various NFL teams on social media after a year in franchise tag purgatory/chicken with the Steelers. Last week, it was the Ravens’ turn. He sent an emoji at a Good Morning Football video saying the fit with Baltimore made some sense and he noticed that Lamar Jackson followed him on Instagram, which practically and technically constitutes an engagement.
If the two sides can make the money work, this idea is a lot of fun! While Gus Edwards did average 5.2 yards a carry for the Ravens last season, Le’Veon Bell as a dual rushing and receiving threat in an option offense with Lamar Jackson would be about as good a duo as possible for us to observe whether that strategy can truly be sustainably successful over the course of an NFL season.
Putting aside the point that last year’s Ravens team has already proven that this is a better strategy than trotting out a self-evidently disastrous quarterback like Nathan Peterman or Blaine Gabbert, adding an elite running back into the equation would provide tangible results about exactly how far you can take this.
While it’s true that there always seem to be stout running backs found in the middle of the Draft, Lamar Jackson’s being on a rookie contract enables the team to spend on other talents. It’s hard to nail down exactly what specific number Bell would be worth, but the Ravens’ presumably parting with Joe Flacco will mean they can afford a pretty high price tag.
From an audience perspective, seeing Bell go against the Steelers twice a year would add intrigue. Elsewhere in the AFC North, we can presume the Bengals and the frugal Mike Brown won’t be in the running, but it should be noted that the Browns have gobs of cap space and would also be an interesting destination for Bell for this reason, though the development of Nick Chubb over last season makes it far less of a need.
We’ll have to see where Bell winds up, but the Ravens would certainly be an interesting destination for a number of reasons.