Is Bell a good pick-up for the Chiefs? You decide.
On Oct. 15, New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs, and he eventually signed a one-year, $1 million contract with them. This trade has left many wondering, was this the right move by the Chiefs’ front office and head coach Andy Reid?
Bell, at one point, was one of the premier running backs in the NFL. In 2014 during his second season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bell had over 2,200 all-purpose yards. In 2017 he had a league-high 321 carries for 1,291 yards and 85 catches for 655 yards. The fierce offensive attack from the formidable “Killer B’s” (Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Bell) seemed to be a match made in heaven for Pittsburgh, but money got in the way.
Bell did not get a long-term contract and instead was given a franchise tag where no future money was guaranteed. In protest, Bell decided to sit out the 2018 season. In 2019 Bell was traded to the Jets, and he has not had the same level of production he once had in Pittsburgh.
Varying opinions came out during the 2018 season on whether or not Bell handled this situation correctly. Some asked how Bell could let money get in the way of being a good teammate and player to the organization. Others thought Bell was in the right and that he would have played the 2018 season under the franchise tag and suffered an injury that his future would not have been taken care of. Regardless of what side you are on, there remain concerns and upsides to the Chiefs’ acquisition.
With or without Bell, the Chiefs are Super Bowl contenders with one of the most talented rosters in all of the NFL. They already have a top tier talent at running back in rookie sensation Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who has 505 yards rushing on the season.
The Chiefs’ locker room chemistry has already been defined for the season, and the addition of Bell could throw off the balance. Bell is a veteran who has already proven to put himself and his needs before the team, and his addition could put stress on some of the players who may listen to the veteran. Bell may not be a bad guy, but there is still a chance that he could be a negative locker room presence that could jeopardize the dynasty they want to build in Kansas City.
Nevertheless, if this season has taught us anything, it is that you cannot have enough depth. Big names this season like Giants running back Saquon Barkley, who tore his ACL, and 49ers defensive end Joey Bosa, who suffered the same injury, has turned the 2020 campaign into an injury-riddled affair.
Not to mention, the number of players who have had to sit out due to testing positive for COVID-19, including starting quarterback for the Patriots Cam Newton, who had to miss multiple weeks due to the virus.
Looking at Bell’s addition from this view, I can see why the Chiefs would sign a veteran back who can come in right away and learn their system quickly. The versatility of Bell is also a plus. Bell has 3,160 career receiving yards, and Andy Reid will be able to use him in many creative ways. He can line up in the backfield, in the slot, or as an outside receiver, making him a match-up nightmare for defenses.
Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said in a USA Today interview that Bell talked to Edwards-Helaire before signing, stating, “I don’t want to step on your toes. I want to know if you’re okay with me coming in here.” Bieniemy told USA Today, “He’s a classy individual. It says a lot about the person who does not want to come up and disrupt the chemistry that we have.”
Whatever side of the fence you are on, we cannot change the fact that the Chiefs added another weapon to their arsenal, and only time will tell if this was a necessary pickup for the defending Super Bowl champs.