One of the NFL’s best running backs in Le’Veon Bell will face a big decision in the 2019 offseason. The Pittsburgh Steelers star is set to hit free agency and will have a number of potential suitors, even with his huge contract demands. Among the many teams who may make a push for Bell, the Oakland Raiders could wind up finding their way into the mix, assuming Jon Gruden and company are willing to pay up.
It’s a guessing game at this point exactly how Bell’s market will look, but it seems Portland Trail Blazers star and known Raiders fan Damian Lillard is already doing some recruiting. After the 27-year-old running back tweeted asking where he should go, Lillard sent a quick tweet back, citing “RaiderNation” in the process.
For what it’s worth, Lillard would likely be more than willing to take the recruitment far beyond just one tweet if needed. He’s a big Raiders fan and was at the 2018 game against the Cleveland Browns with Blazers teammate CJ McCollum.
Damian Lillard Trolls CJ McCollum After Raiders Defeat Browns
Lillard made sure to mess with his friend a bit after Oakland’s 45-42 victory over Cleveland. The Trail Blazers’ official Twitter showed a photo of the point guard grinning from ear-to-ear while McCollum looked less than thrilled.
It wasn’t over there either, as a photo came to light featuring Lillard and McCollum on what appears to be their plane ride following the game.
It was surely all in good fun, but Lillard walked away as the big winner when the Raiders picked up the victory, although the Browns and quarterback Baker Mayfield have a bright future.
Raiders’ Outlook for Signing Le’Veon Bell
The big question is whether the Raiders could actually be in play to sign Bell, and there are a few reasons to believe that it’s possible. Both Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin are set to be unrestricted free agents this offseason while Jalen Richard is a restricted free agent. Even beyond that, the Raiders are entering free agency with a huge amount of salary cap space.
As Over The Cap details, Oakland is currently sitting with the No. 6 most cap space at just over $71.23 million. Although they’re within $9 million of the Browns, Buffalo Bills and Houston Texans, they find themselves far behind the Indianapolis Colts and New York Jets. Both the Colts and Jets have north of $102 million in cap space, and either team could realistically consider pushing to sign Bell.
An argument against the Raiders signing Bell includes the fact they opted not to fork over a huge contract to defensive star Khalil Mack, instead choosing to trade him to the Chicago Bears. They also moved wide receiver Amari Cooper during the year prior to beginning contract extension talks with him.