On Tuesday, the New England Patriots‘ AFC East rivals, the New York Jets released former All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell after the team unsuccessfully attempted to trade him.
In three games, Bell has just 74 yards rushing on 19 carries with no touchdowns, and he’s caught three passes for 39 yards. That’s a far cry from the kinds of numbers Bell was putting up in 2017 when he led the NFL in rushing attempts and produced 1,954 all-purpose yards.
Bell quickly let anyone who might be wondering about his desire to continue to perform know he’s still highly motivated, and he has something to prove.
It didn’t take long for the Patriots to be on the tip of the tongues of almost every pundit and insider across the country when potential suitors for Bell were discussed.
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Could Le’Veon Bell to the Patriots Really Happen?
The short answer to this question is: many people think it’s possible.
The New York Times’ Jake Nisse wrote:
Bill Belichick has always been a master of redemption projects, and Bell — just three years removed from being named a first-team All-Pro — is more talented than many of the projects he has undertaken. With Tom Brady gone, the Pats have committed even further to the run, but a running backs room of Damien Harris, Rex Burkhead and James White won’t blow anyone away. Bell could form a killer partnership with Cam Newton in Foxborough if Belichick calls.
Vinnie Iyer of The Sporting News thinks the Patriots might be set at running back, even with Sony Michel now on injured reserve, but he offered:
But because this is Bill Belichick — who likes taking chances on big-name veterans whom he feels still have strong value in the Patriots’ schemes — Bell can’t be ruled out as an addition to the mix, given how run-heavy the team is now to support Cam Newton. The added bonus would be picking up an ex-Jet to rattle Gase.
Nick O’Malley of Mass Live wrote:
Would Bell be a fit for the Patriots? He’s a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro and still just 28 years old. Plus, he spent a whole season not getting hit. Plus, he’s motivated. Bill Belichick and the Patriots have a long history of taking disgruntled players, turning them around and unleashing them on the rest of the league. If the Patriots manage to get Bell to look their way, he’d be a dangerous piece to add to the offense. Running back isn’t the Patriots’ No. 1 need. However, the offense is in need of explosive playmakers on the offensive side of the ball to help out Cam Newton. Bell would give the Patriots a dynamic dual-threat option out of the backfield that would complement a run-heavy scheme.
Le’Veon Bell Shouldn’t Be Out of Work for Long
Despite the fact that he’s 28 years old, and he hasn’t been the same player that he used to be since sitting out the entire 2018 season with a contract dispute, Bell should still have suitors.
The year off saved his body from wear and tear. His versatility as a runner and receiver on top of the decent start to the season Adrian Peterson has had with the Detroit Lions might be enough to convince a team to take a shot on Bell.
That said, if the Patriots are seriously considering adding a big-name veteran, there are other positions with more of a serious need than RB. Bell has a name, but not necessarily a place on the Patriots roster.
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