Is it possible? Yes. How much would they pay him? Too much. How good would Jacksonville be? Super Bowl contenders.
Le’Veon Bell will be a free agent this coming off-season, as his rookie contract runs out with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Due to his recent success and his desire to stay in Pittsburgh, Bell would only not choose to stay in Pittsburgh if there was a money issue. He is the best running back in the NFL, at least until Ezekiel Elliot has another All-Pro season and shows some longevity and consistency. The situation in Pittsburgh with Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, two of the best players at their respective positions, only increases the likelihood Bell stays in Pittsburgh.
Wherever he lands this off-season, Bell will sign a huge contract. The Jaguars could use a real running back that can catch and run the ball effectively. If general manager David Caldwell could convince Bell and a few offensive linemen to sign and occupy some of Jacksonville’s excessive cap space of $64 million, then the Jags could be favorites to win the AFC South next season.
Convincing Bell to come to Jacksonville would be very difficult. Offering Bell lots of money will help, but other factors would need to exist to convince the star running back to leave a playoff team like the Pittsburgh Steelers. Former teammate and current Jacksonville linebacker Marcus Rush played with Bell at Michigan State in 2011 and 2012 so there’s a small connection there. Also, Jaguars tackle Kelvin Beachum played four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers before joining the Jaguars in 2016, another link between Bell and the Jaguars.
Whoever the Jaguars hire as head coach for 2017 may influence Bell’s interest as well, along with any other potential targets in free agency for the Jaguars. Bell has said that he wishes to stay a Pittsburgh Steeler beyond this season. If he and the Steelers’ front office cannot reach a deal this offseason, then he would probably receive a franchise tag for next season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars probably will not land Bell, but it is worth taking a shot at signing him. Jacksonville should still try to offer him money because he is worth it to a team that struggles to run the ball consistently each week. The Jaguars have many decisions to make this off-season about who to sign, trade, or release. However, they should attempt to make major changes and quick improvements as this season’s 3-13 record will not be acceptable in 2017.
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