Just two days after being released by the New York Jets, running back Le’Veon Bell has a new home. The highly motivated dual threat will head to Kansas City for a one year deal with the Chiefs.
Following a difficult stretch with the Jets, Bell will look to prove himself. Odds would likely say that he should be able to accomplish that, having gone from the worst offense to one of the best. Let’s quickly look back on Le’Veon’s career to this point. In addition, we will dive deeper into his fit with Kansas City.
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A Killer Bee
A former second round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013, the Michigan State product broke out in his sophomore season. His 2014 season was highlighted in both the run and pass game. Bell earned All-Pro honors that year, and finished second in rushing yards, yards from scrimmage and all-purpose yards. Only Dallas Cowboys running back Demarco Murray finished higher in those categories that season.
Forming the Killer Bee’s with Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, Bell and Pittsburgh were one of the most formidable offenses in the league. However, those strong regular season results never turned into playoff success. The only time the Steelers made it further than the Divisional Round was in 2016. They lost in the AFC Championship Game to the New England Patriots.
Despite a stretch in where Le’Veon Bell attributed over 1,800 total yards of offense in three of four seasons, his time in Pittsburgh ended quickly. A contract dispute led to a hold out, after Bell received the franchise tag. As a result, he sat out the entire 2018 season and would not play for the Steelers again.
Following that empty season, Bell would sign a lucrative deal with the Jets. It was a four year deal for $52.5 million. He would wind up playing in 15 games, registering 789 rushing yards, 3.2 yards per carry (a career low) and 461 receiving yards. By the time the year was over, Bell became frustrated behind a mediocre offensive line and the team was largely fed up with head coach Adam Gase.
That seemed to carry over even more into this season. The Jets reportedly tried to trade Bell for weeks. After the game in Week One, he was placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. That allowed him to get healthy, while missing three games. In his return last Sunday, Bell netted 67 yards on the ground and through the air combined. He would be released two days later.
This appeared to be something Le’Veon Bell wanted heavily. He quickly took to Twitter and sent out the praying emoji, and that he was ready to go.
A Chief Opportunity
The Kansas City Chiefs were quickly mentioned as a fit for Bell, once he got released. According to reports, the team believed they were going to sign him as early as Tuesday night or Wednesday. Though, the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins joined the mix. But in the end, Bell likely joined what would be his greatest opportunity at vying for a championship.
Despite having Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the need for running back depth was there. Darrel Williams has been banged up and his production has been up and down. Meanwhile, Darwin Thompson has appeared to have disappeared from any sort of game plan that he was receiving. It should also be mentioned that the addition of Bell is much different than last season.
LeSean McCoy joining Damien Williams was a much different pace in the backfield. Both Edwards-Helaire and Bell can be used in endless ways. This newer addition also has more tread left on the tires than McCoy did. Whether it is in the passing game, or run game, their styles are similar. Bell and CEH both have great vision, patience and balance as ball carriers. Furthermore, Kansas City can use him to help Edwards-Helaire as a veteran mentor.
How Does Bell Fit With The Team?
Let’s start with Le’Veon’s ability as a pass catcher. He is just super natural, that he can be used as a wide receiver type in multiple positions. In fact, Pittsburgh did that same thing with him in their offense. Overall, Bell is a well versed route runner, and he tracks the football well and executes. And we know how well Kansas City can attack defenses with the screen pass game.
As a runner, his fit will be more of a work in progress. His patient style is an intriguing mix with the Chiefs offensive line, who is banged up. All in all, Andy Reid‘s intelligence will carve out a role for him eventually. He should settle in to a complementary role behind Edwards-Helaire.
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– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.