Ravens Cut RB, Open Door for Le’Veon Bell Revenge Game vs. Chiefs

Ravens Le'Veon Bell

Getty Former Chiefs running back Le'Veon Bell stiff arms a Broncos defender during a December 2020 game.

Fans may be one step closer to seeing Le’Veon Bell or Devonta Freeman take the field for the Baltimore Ravens, as the team cut third-string running back Trenton Cannon on Tuesday, per the NFL’s official transaction report.

The move leaves only two running backs–Ty’Son Williams and Latavius Murray–on the Ravens’ active roster, with former Pro Bowlers Bell and Freeman on the practice squad.

Cannon was signed less than a week ago to provide RB depth after season-ending injuries to J.K. Dobbins and Justice Hill. He played almost half of the Ravens’ special teams snaps on Monday night against the Las Vegas Raiders, but only had two carries for five yards.

Murray arrived in Baltimore a few days later, after Gus Edwards tore his ACL, which forced the Ravens to completely reinvent their backfield before the start of the regular season.

Cannon’s release comes as a minor surprise given how recently the Ravens signed him, but he could join the practice squad and remain eligible for activation on game days.

Bell Could Return Against His Former Team

While the Ravens declined to elevate Bell or Freeman from the practice squad for their regular season opener on Monday night, at least one of the veteran backs is likely to be added to the team’s 53-man roster before Sunday night’s matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Bell last played for Kansas City during the AFC Divisional Round in January after appearing in nine games as a Chief during the 2020 regular season, including two starts.

The two-time All-Pro made the most of his limited touches in the Chiefs’ high-octane offense, totaling 63 carries for 254 yards and 13 catches for 99 yards.

His tenure in Kansas City ended acrimoniously, with Bell commenting on an Instagram post that he would retire before playing for Chiefs head coach Andy Reid again.

The Ravens could use some more support at running back behind starter Ty’Son Williams, as Latavius Murray struggled on Monday night, only gaining 28 yards on 10 carries.

Reinforcements could come in the form of Bell or Devonta Freeman, who reached back-to-back Pro Bowls as a member of the Atlanta Falcons in 2015 and 2016.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter originally reported that the Ravens planned to add Freeman to their active roster after signing him to the practice squad, but an elevation failed to materialize before the Raiders game.

Freeman and Bell have only participated in a few practices with the Ravens, but after another full week with the team, they could be ready to take the field on Sunday night.

Chemistry with quarterback Lamar Jackson will be key, as the Ravens’ read-option playbook requires precise exchanges at the mesh point.

Fumbles were an issue for the Ravens against the Raiders, as Jackson fumbled twice and nearly lost a third fumble after botching a handoff to Ty’Son Williams.

Ravens Move Phillips to IR

Tyre Phillips earned the start at left guard on Monday night, but had to be carted off the field with a knee injury. He was added to short-term injured reserve on Tuesday, leaving just 49 players on the Ravens’ active roster.

Ben Powers replaced Phillips for the rest of the game and will likely start against the Chiefs on Sunday.

The Ravens could look to sign another offensive lineman after Phillip’s injury, which will keep him sidelined until at least Week 5.

Many observers are calling for reinforcement at offensive tackle after a subpar performance from offseason addition Alejandro Villanueva against the Raiders.

OTs Andre Smith and Michael Schofield could be candidates for a reunion with the team after spending the preseason in Baltimore, while undrafted rookie Adrian Ealy could be elevated from the practice squad.

The Ravens also hosted defensive backs Grant Haley, Winston Rose, Buster Skrine and Daryl Worley for workout on Tuesday, signaling that the team may be looking to fortify their secondary after giving up 435 passing yards to Raiders quarterback Derek Carr on Monday night.