Le’veon Bell (Philly Influencer)
Le’veon Bell could bolster Falcons offense, but at what price?
It could be a long shot for the Atlanta Falcons, but could they possibly be a dark horse to acquire Bell from the Steelers? In Steve Sarkisian’s second year as offensive coordinator, he’s looking to rebound from a shaky first season with the team, and Bell could potentially help his woah’s.
We all know who Le’veon is from his early career. We know he’s an exceptional running back with elite elusiveness, route running, and pass catching ability. We also know he’s got a little bit of a hot head with an ego around him. But that’s understandable right?
The man wants to be paid. He’s been a top three running back in the league the last four seasons, and his numbers show it. Aside from Bell tearing his MCL in 2015, when he still put up over 500 rushing yards in just over 100 attempts, he’s been a very consistent back. He rushed for 1,361 yards in 2014 and over 1,260 yards in both 2016 and 2017. Not to mention is 75+ catches and 7+ touchdowns each of those years. Bell is a stud, he’s the elite runner every team wants. So why won’t the Steelers pay him?
Well that question is unclear. If Bell signed his franchise tender again, it will still make him the highest paid running back in the league at over $14 million. But understandably, Bell wants a long term deal with guaranteed money. He rightfully deserves it. But now the Steelers are listening to trade offers for him because he has shown that he won’t give in and report to the team until he is paid. Plus if you’ve been following the Steelers, especially if you’re a fantasy football player, you might have heard of a guy named James Connor who the Steelers love.
So this brings us to the Falcons now. Should Atlanta peruse Bell in a trade, and what would they give up for him? The Steelers have not come out and stated exactly what they want for him, but you would imagine at least a couple draft picks and some promising players for the elite back would be the minimum Pittsburgh would take. Well, what does Atlanta have to offer the Steelers?
I believe Atlanta will part with either Devontae Freeman or Tevin Coleman either this offseason or next. So right away you can include one of those backs in the deal. Coleman might be the better back for Atlanta to keep, but him and Bell have the same play style. Freeman is more of a pass catch, or run through the tackles type back. Coleman likes to run outside and around the tackles, as does Bell. Him becoming a free agent also in 2019 would allow Pittsburgh to sign Coleman for significantly cheaper than what they would sign Bell.
Vic Beasley is another interesting name to think about. He’s still on his rookie deal, and has only been impressive one season so far when he had 16 sacks in 2016. Again so far this year, he has yet to impress. The fans are tired of seeing it and they want a change. Well why not bolster the offense and keep the defense off the field?
One other guy the Falcons could look at trading would be Justin Bethel. Atlanta acquired him this offseason as a special teams specialist, but also to have depth at cornerback. The Steelers could possibly be interested in him to help improve their secondary that has struggled a bit to start the season. Plus he has a friendly contract making under $2 million.
As far as draft picks go, it’s unlikely the Steelers would be able to get a 1st or 2nd round pick for a running back. Giving running back’s history, most of them don’t last more than 10 years in the league and Bell is already half way there.
However, with Bell’s explosiveness and his play style, he could still be elite for seven more years and relevant five years after that. A 3rd round pick or several late round picks would be more likely to do the trick.
With all this being said my trade offer to the Steelers would be:
Steelers receive: Coleman, Beasley, Bethel, 4th round pick and 7th round pick
Falcons receive: Bell, 6th round pick.
This trade is also within implications the Falcons will be able to sign Bell to at least a 4 year deal, making him by far the highest paid running back in the league. Yes, Atlanta would have to give up a lot of money, but as far as offense goes nobody else on the team is due a big contract for a while. The defensive side of the ball is where Atlanta will have to watch their money.
We want to hear from you Falcons fans! What, if anything, would you give up for Le’veon Bell? And why? Rise up Atlanta!!