While Kansas City Chiefs fans await a potential big move at wide receiver or defensive line, general manager Brett Veach took care of some housekeeping.
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport announced the news, informing: “The Chiefs are re-signing TE Blake Bell to a 1-year contract, source said. This is his fourth season with KC.”
Affectionately referred to as “The Belldozer” by supporters, the blocking tight end and core special teamer has become an underrated role player for head coach Andy Reid and his staff. He’ll return for another year in KC after an injury-ridden campaign in 2022, having already won two Super Bowl rings during his accumulative tenure with the Chiefs.
Blake Bell’s Impact on Offense & Special Teams With Chiefs
Hip surgery sidelined Bell most of last season, but he did appear in three regular season games and one playoff outing. In total, he caught three passes for 24 yards and a touchdown according to Pro Football Reference — but the tight end doesn’t get paid to catch balls from quarterback Patrick Mahomes II.
After all, his nickname is The Belldozer for a reason. Pro Football Focus broke down Bell’s 379 offensive snaps in 2021, and 227 of them came as a run blocker. Reid also kept the bruiser inside as an extra pass protector 42 times compared to 106 routes run.
That ratio was similar in 2022 (23 run blocking snaps, one in pass protection, 16 as a receiver), just on a much lesser scale due to injury.
During the full campaign in 2021, Bell earned a solid 70.5 grade as a run blocker. He allowed two quarterback hurries in pass protection but did not allow a sack or QB hit.
Of course, Bell’s also a known asset on special teams — with 246 ST snaps for Kansas City in 2019 and another 194 in 2021, per PFF. He does most of his work as a blocker on KC’s field goal attempts and kick returns, but has been used as a blocker on punt return and a tackler on kick return and punt return coverage as well.
Bell slots in as the fourth tight end on the roster behind Travis Kelce, Noah Gray and Jody Fortson, and should compete with Matt Bushman and Kendall Blanton for a roster spot in 2023.
Chiefs Insiders Believe KC Could Still Draft a Tight End
Different members of the Kansas City media reacted to the news of Bell re-signing, and a similar theory seemed to resonate among them.
“I don’t think this necessarily means the Chiefs won’t draft a tight end,” USA Today’s Charles Goldman voiced. “They’ve had injuries at the position quite a bit the past few seasons. Last season alone, Bell, Fortson and Bushman. Reasonable to believe they’d keep adding there.”
The Athletic’s Nate Taylor also chimed in, stating: “Can confirm the Chiefs are re-signing Blake Bell on a 1-year deal (@RapSheet 1st). The team keeps its top 4 tight ends from last year — in Travis Kelce, Noah Gray, Jody Fortson & Bell — & could add another player at the position in the draft next month.”
As a former tight ends and offensive line coach, Big Red has always valued reliable blockers at both positions. Earlier this offseason, he and Veach re-signed versatile backup Nick Allegretti on the interior of the O-line.
The Bell move is similar, but it doesn’t mean the Chiefs won’t build on their current crop of tight ends. After all, the eight-year veteran blocker will be 32 in August and Kelce isn’t getting any younger either — turning 34 in October.