On the Wednesday mailbag edition of the AP Laboratory, we kicked off the show with the news that New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell had been released — making him a free agent.
Should the Chiefs consider signing him?
We think so.
The Chiefs currently have four running backs on their 53-man roster: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrel Williams, Darwin Thompson and DeAndre Washington. Washington’s recent promotion from the practice squad could perhaps be a direct response to Darwin Thompson ending up in the dog house of the offensive staff after a fumble in Baltimore territory in Week 3. Thompson has been reduced to special teams snaps the last two weeks.
Bell is definitively better than any running back not named Clyde Edwards-Helaire on the roster and is more proven than anyone in that position room. The Chiefs could add one of the best receiving backs of the last 10 years if they were to go out and add the former Michigan State Spartan. There really aren’t many obstacles in the way of him backing up Edwards-Helaire. As long as he’s not stunting the growth of the Chiefs’ first-round pick in 2020, it is a worthy low-risk addition. Should something happen to the rookie, Bell would be first up to replace him.
There are certainly questions about his exits from the last two organizations he’s played for — things did not end well in either Pittsburgh or New York. But if there is any organization that can serve as a good support system for a player looking for a final chance at a significant NFL contract in 2021, it’s the Chiefs. Andy Reid, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, running backs coach Deland McCullough and a great locker room culture provide a strong group to hold Bell accountable and get the most out of him.
I’d feel comfortable taking a chance on Bell — especially considering current roster construction. He could help carry the load for the remainder of the season and earn himself a nice contract in 2021 (and the Chiefs a compensatory pick).
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