Yesterday, Ian Rapoport joined Good Morning Football to discuss landing spots for upcoming free agent Le’Veon Bell. Kay Adams stated she’d want to see Bell join the Ravens and Rapoport said it made sense for the former Steeler to join their AFC North rival. Shortly thereafter, Tony Jefferson, Eric Weddle, Marlon Humphrey and Lamar Jackson looked to begin their recruitment efforts.
I made my position clear on twitter yesterday and it’s time for me to back up my words with a piece on why I don’t believe the Ravens should sign the former Steeler.
Do the Ravens need a running back right now?
In the seven games Gus Edwards was paired with Lamar Jackson, he averaged 93.4 YPG. He dominated the ground game and refused to be tackled for a loss.
Gus Edwards just didn't go down behind the line of scrimmage pic.twitter.com/pqeD528VCs— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) February 8, 2019
To compliment the big back out of Rutgers, Kenneth Dixon spelled an extra 57.8 YPG when joining Jackson. Between these two, without adding Jackson’s rushing total, they eclipsed 151.2 rushing YPG.
Jackson makes any running back’s job easier. Is there really a reason to go out of the way to spend big money on an older running back with more mileage than a 24 & 25 year old tandem capable of producing great numbers?
What a Le’Veon Bell Contract means
Does everybody remember just how much money Bell wanted?
From what I understand, the #Steelers’ final offer to RB Le’Veon Bell was 5 years, $70M with more than $30M over 2 years. Last year, the offer was 5 years, $60M. ... Instead, he’ll earn $14.5M on another franchise tag.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 16, 2018
The Ravens finally—finally, have a bit of cap space to utilize. Is this really the move general manager Eric DeCosta needs to make?
This offseason, the Ravens have multiple names up for re-signing, including:
- C.J. Mosley
- Za’Darius Smith
- Terrell Suggs
- John Brown
- Brent Urban
- Maxx Williams
- Nick Boyle
- Robert Griffin III
- Ty Montgomery
- Alex Collins
If Bell still wants $17 million per year, the cap space will vanish rather expeditiously. This means the team can maybe re-sign Mosley if his deal is back-loaded to offset the mega signing bonus of Bell’s dream contract. After these two contracts, will there really be money left to build a roster around the new franchise quarterback?
Building around Lamar Jackson
Fun fact, it’s not easy creating a star offense. You can’t just, “draft a couple wide receivers and offensive lineman,” and be set. It doesn’t work that way. Hell, if any franchise knows you can’t do it, the Ravens should be among the top of this list.
If you don’t remember, here are the last ten wide receivers drafted by Baltimore:
- Jaleel Scott
- Jordan Lasley
- Chris Moore
- Breshad Perriman
- Darren Waller
- Michael Campanaro
- Aaron Mellette
- Tommy Streeter
- Torrey Smith
- Tandon Doss
None of these receivers have proven to be go-to receivers in the NFL. The closest of them has been Torrey, who broke 1000 yards only once in his career. It’s asinine to believe the draft will bring about a bunch of star pass-catching talent.
Also, just drafting a few offensive linemen to create better protection isn’t easily done, either.
- Orlando Brown Jr.
- Greg Senat
- Bradley Bozeman
- Nico Siragusa
- Jermaine Eluemunor
- Ronnie Stanley
- Alex Lewis
- Robert Myers
- John Urschel
- Ricky Wagner
This list is far better than the wide receivers list above. Honestly, there are some solid players here. Wagner, Stanley and Brown Jr. are all starters in this league. Unfortunately, there are some duds in here, too. Myers has never played an NFL game and Eluemunor struggles mightily. Siragusa suffered a horrible knee injury and has yet to play a game. Lewis has under-performed after a decent rookie year and both Bozeman and Senat are unproven. Brown Jr. was an absolute steal because of a horrible combine, or he would’ve been drafted in the first round. So, yes, the Ravens are better when it comes to building offensive line talent, but that doesn’t mean you can just pick five guys in the draft and instantly have them become a great blocking unit.
Logistics of signing Bell
Bell has been in the league for five years. He’s produced 1229 carries and added another 312 receptions. He’s taken a beating. Ravens fans should know, as they watched the Baltimore defense compete against him twice a year. Is the best thing for the Ravens franchise to sign a worn-down, 27-year old running back to a star wide receiver contract?
I understand the craving for a star player. Right now, the commercials for the NFL include incredible wide receivers, high-flying running backs and dominant quarterbacks. Flashing across the screen are Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins, Ezekiel Elliott, Saquon Barkley, Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady. Rarely ever are there Ravens players. The desire for a star offensive player is not only understood, but felt as well.
Nonetheless, I do not believe it is a good idea to shell out $70 million plus for a running back.