The Chiefs are one of three teams leading the Le’Veon Bell chase. Last night, they thought they had it wrapped up. Sources tell NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter) that the Chiefs believed that Bell would sign with them after they spoke with his camp on Wednesday.
That’s not to say that the Chiefs are out of the mix. In fact, they’re still very much in it, along with the Bills and Dolphins. There’s just more work to be done, if they want Bell to join Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrel Williams, and Darwin Thompson on their RB depth chart.
The Chiefs, who started off 4-0 before falling to the Raiders, rank eleventh in yards per carry average. Edwards-Helaire leads the pack with 344 yards and an average of 4.2 yards per tote. Beyond the rookie, however, they could use some veteran support. Kansas City made a somewhat similar move last year, signing LeSean McCoy after the Bills cut him. While McCoy played decently in spurts last season, the Chiefs made him a healthy scratch in Super Bowl LIV. Bell, however, is four years younger than McCoy and has logged more than 1,000 fewer touches.
Bell gained nearly 2,000 total yards in 2017, a year in which he was franchise-tagged by the Steelers. Then came the holdout, followed by his forgettable stretch with the Jets. The Chiefs could give Bell a prime opportunity to get back to his old form and capture another Super Bowl ring.
Now 28, Bell has not shown top form since than ’17 season. In a 2019 slate in which he averaged a career-low 3.2 yards per carry, Bell lacked the spark he displayed with the Steelers. He suffered a hamstring injury in Week 1 of this year, leading to a three-week stay on IR. However, Bell did average 4.6 yards per tote against the Cardinals on Sunday. This led to a last-ditch Jets push to trade him. But that effort did not last long. They cut him Tuesday.
The Bills and Dolphins are also believed to be in on Bell. Buffalo has relied on second-year back Devin Singletary this season, with rookie Zach Moss battling an injury. Bell would certainly supply the Bills with experience and a pass-catching pedigree their backfield lacks. The Dolphins would not profile as the kind of contender Bell reportedly seeks, but the veteran back trains in Miami during the offseason and has a home in south Florida.
Regardless of which team signs Bell, he would need to go through the enhanced coronavirus protocols with his new team. The earliest he could possibly play again would be Week 7, and that would depend on how quickly he signed.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.