The Baltimore Ravens are looking to shore up their running back depth in the wake of J.K. Dobbins’ season-ending knee injury and Justice Hill’s season-ending Achilles injury. That depth might come courtesy of a former rival.
It’s the first sign of interest in the 29-year-old Bell since the start of unrestricted free agency, who has been out of work since his contract with the Kansas City Chiefs expired earlier this year.
Bell Predicted 2021 Would be His Comeback Year
Yet the obvious lack of interest in his services didn’t stop Bell from predicting that this would be the season in which NFL fans would be reminded of his prodigious talent.
He also promised that he would not rush into signing a contract in free agency, which … hasn’t been a problem.
Bell’s Career Went South After He Left Pittsburgh
That’s because Bell hasn’t looked like the same running back since he last played for the Steelers in 2017. Since then he has appeared in just 26 games—17 for the Jets and nine for the Kansas City Chiefs—rushing for just 1,117 yards and catching 82 passes for 599 more.
Never mind that he once had the opportunity to accept a long-term contract offer from the Steelers, one that would have paid him $70 million over the course of five years. Instead, he sat out the entire 2018 season (as opposed to playing on the one-year franchise tag, which would have compenstated him $14.5 million). He proceeded to sign with the Jets for significantly less (four years and $52.5 million) than offered by the Steelers, and Bell never got on track with New York.
In fact, the Jets tried to trade him, then released him just 17 games into his tenure, at which point he caught on with the Chiefs, where he averaged a mere 28.2 rushing yards per game, despite being surrounded by an all-star cast of offensive weapons that propelled Kansas City to the Super Bowl.
If he signs with Baltimore, Bell will get the opportunity to build on career stats that include 1,556 carries, 6,453 yards and 40 rushing touchdowns. He has also recorded 394 receptions for 3,259 yards and eight receiving touchdowns en route to Pro Bowl honors in 2014, 2016 and 2017. He came into the league in with the Steelers in 2013 as a second-round pick (No. 48 overall) out of Michigan State.
As for the other running back the Ravens worked out on Monday, that would be former Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants back Devonta Freeman, who is almost exactly the same age as Bell (born less than a month later). Freeman is a former fourth-round pick of the Falcons in the 2014 NFL draft. Over the course of his career, he has played in 82 games and rushed for 4,144 yards with 33 rushing touchdowns. He also has 264 receptions for 2,073 yards and 11 touchdown catches.
Follow the Heavy on Steelers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
• Steelers Trade Draft Pick to Seahawks for ‘Top 5 Graded’ Cornerback
• Steelers’ Christian Kuntz Credits Packers Workout Tip for NFL Job
• Joe Greene Named ‘Greatest’ Steeler on NFL Top 100 List