There are no longer any questions surrounding the immediate plans of Le’Veon Bell.
By failing to report to the Pittsburgh Steelers and sign his franchise tag tender by 4:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, the three-time All-Pro running back decided to forgo his $14.5 million salary and sit out the entire 2018 season. As a result, Bell will enter the 2019 offseason with a clean bill of health, looking to cash in with a record-breaking contract during free agency.
To the surprise of few, the oddsmakers in Las Vegas have already released betting odds on where Bell will play in 2019. Here’s what they came up with.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+700)
The Buccaneers have a glaring need at running back, and with a few crafty moves, they will have more than enough salary cap space to offer Bell the type of contract he is looking for. The Bucs will likely be focused on finding an answer to their quarterback conundrum next offseason, but it’s also a near certainty that they will at least toy with the idea of pursuing Bell.
Philadelphia Eagles (+700)
The Eagles are no strangers to making splashy moves, and they do have Carson Wentz locked up on a rookie contract. But when it comes down to it, it’s hard to envision GM Howie Roseman giving Bell the type of mega-contract he is seeking. Stranger things have happened, but we just don’t see this scenario coming to fruition.
Oakland Raiders (+500)
The Raiders are a flat-out disaster right now, but they will have boat loads of money to spend next offseason. More importantly, there may be no better way to spark interest in the franchise as they prepare to move to Las Vegas than to go out and sign an elite offensive playmaker such as Bell.
For Bell, this situation would be less than ideal, as signing with the Raiders would be an obvious sign that he is simply playing football for the money.
New York Jets (+300)
The Jets have long been linked to Bell, and in reality it makes perfect sense. The Jets have their quarterback (Sam Darnold), locked up through the 2022 season on a rookie contract, and they are projected to have $106.6 million in salary cap space in 2019. Bell would take a lot of the pressure off Darnold, and give the Jets the every-down, game-changing running back they have been looking for since the days of Curtis Martin and Thomas Jones.
Other teams to keep an eye on:
- Green Bay Packers (+750)
- San Francisco 49ers (+900)
- Baltimore Ravens (+900)
- Indianapolis Colts (+900)
- Houston Texans (+1200)
- Seattle Seahawks (+1600)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (+1600)
- New England Patriots (+3300)
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