Whether fans were pulling for it or otherwise, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are allegedly passing on signing free agent Le’Veon Bell.
It may have been an exciting few hours when it seemed like the Buccaneers may also add Le’Veon Bell to their impressive stable of running backs, but the reports that show Bell’s likely landing spots do not include Tampa Bay.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweeted earlier today that Bell has narrowed his options down to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Miami Dolphins, and the Buffalo Bills. All of these teams make much more sense than the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay already has a deep running back room when healthy. Ronald Jones is playing like a true RB1, Leonard Fournette is an excellent second option to pair with Jones, and Ke’Shawn Vaughn is trending up as a pass-catcher.
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Bell would have a limited role in this offense, and he would just take touches away from players that are already performing at a high level. The Buccaneers can’t afford to spend money on another running back, especially considering their holes at other positions.
While Bell would be an immediate improvement, this decision could be a blessing in disguise for the Buccaneers. Bell would not be a prominent feature in the offense as he has become used to, and Tampa Bay can’t afford to take on a player who will be unhappy with their workload.
Holding off on Bell does bring up the issue of the Buccaneer third-down role, though. LeSean McCoy has struggled at the position this year, and Tampa Bay needs to find a consistent option to serve as a handcuff to the veteran. Vaughn may grow into this role, but there is still some learning that needs to transpire first.
Bucs fans shouldn’t be too disappointed that they aren’t going after Le’Veon Bell. Tampa Bay’s run game has already made some massive improvements, and Bell wasn’t the best use of money, although, it is hard not to think of the additional excitement that Bell would bring to the high-powered Buccaneer offense.