After early speculations, things in Tampa Bay have been quiet on the Le’Veon Bell front… until recently. Do the Buccaneers have a shot at the running back?
At the beginning of this year, Albert Breer went on The Herd with Colin Cowherd and made a bold prediction that it would be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that would land the services of the All-Pro running back, Le’Veon Bell. Recently however, all signs on the Bell-to-Bucs front had been quiet; that was until Wednesday.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweeted earlier this week that among others such as the Philadelphia Eagles, and the New York Jets, the Buccaneers are expected to be involved in the recruiting process. This draws skepticism as Philadelphia is currently in the red when it comes to cap space, and the Bucs sit below $20 million in cap space. However, with cap to shed, that number in Tampa Bay could get upwards of $40 million in spending flexibility.
The question has to be asked: is a running back worth $15 million a year? Todd Gurley reset the market for a running back last offseason, signing an extension with the Rams at that price. Now Bell has serious leverage to demand that amount of money on the open market. While the Bucs could afford him, should they pursue the services of Bell?
More from Bucs Free Agency
- Buccaneers lose free agent starter to Kansas City Chiefs
- Buccaneers free agent tracker: Who’s coming and going in 2023?
- 5 Buccaneers who probably won’t be back now that Tom Brady has retired
- Buccaneers are taking first step in the right direction for the offseason
- Why the Buccaneers should consider a near roster blow-up
With Donovan Smith expected to be franchise tagged any day now and the impending free agency of Kwon Alexander and Peyton Barber and only six draft picks, there may be a wiser way to spend their money. However, the hiring of 60-year-old Bruce Arians indicates that the Bucs are all in right now and want to capitalize this year, the last year of Jameis Winston’s rookie contract.
While it is unlikely and the Bucs could get a similar but less talented back in Tevin Coleman or Spencer Ware for much cheaper, it would not be a surprise to see Jason Licht go all in on Bell as the Bucs General Manager has not shied away from spending the big bucks in free agency.
Ronald Jones, a second round pick just a year ago, has a chance at a fresh start with Arians and Leftwich molding him, and Barber would not be an expensive player to re-sign. With holes elsewhere, the Bucs should stay away from Bell and focus on the secondary and offensive line this offseason. It is only a matter of time until Bucs Nation finds out if Licht and the front office agree.