USA Today Sports

Eagles? Le'Veon Bell will be unrestricted free agent

Eliot Shorr-Parks
February 20, 2019 - 1:18 pm

Arguably the Eagle's biggest need heading into this offseason is at running back -- and perhaps the best one in the NFL might be there for the taking. 

Speaking Wednesday, Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said to reporters that he will not put place any kind of tag -- franchise or tranistion -- on running back Le'Veon Bell, meaning he will be an unrestricted free agent next month when free agency begins. There is expected to be plenty of interest in Bell, who despite sitting out the 2018 season, is still one of the top playmakers in the sport. 

In the last two seasons he has played -- 2016 and 2017 -- Bell totaled 2,559 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns. He was equally as dangerous as a pass cathcer, catching 160 passes for 1,271 yards. That is more than any other running back in the league. To put that stat into perspective, only 14 receivers in the NFL had more receiving yards combined during the 2016 and 2017 season than Bell did. Simply put, Bell is one of the best overall players in the NFL. 

So unless Bell completely forgot how to play football over the last year, there is no doubt that Bell is exactly what the Eagles need. While their offense struggled for plenty of reasons last season, one of the main ones was the lack of an elite running back out of the backfield. The combination of Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles, Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood and Josh Adams all had their moments, but overall the Eagles got almost no help from their running backs. The need is an obvious one and is going to be addressed, it is just a matter of how Howie Roseman goes about addressing it. 

Financially, it is tough to predict what Bell might get. Running back David Johnson currently projects to have the highest cap hit in 2019 at $9.75 million, who also has the most guaranteed money in his contract at $24 million. The Eagles, depending on how they handle their salary cap, could very well end up with enough room to sign Bell. With Roseman considered one of the best in the NFL at how he is able to put together contracts, if he wants Bell, chances are he will be able to get him. 

Roseman's first chance to make an official run at Bell will be on March 11th. It will be interesting to see if after years of neglecting the running back position, Roseman decides to make a run at one of the best in the sport. 

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at!