Le'Veon Bell

Now it's official: Eagles aren't getting Le'Veon Bell, who is heading to Jets

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Now it's official: Eagles aren't getting Le'Veon Bell, who is heading to Jets

Go ahead and cross Le’Veon Bell off your wish list, Eagles fans. 

He’s heading to the Jets. 

Bell has reached an agreement with the Jets worth $52.5 million over four years, including $35 million guaranteed, according to ESPN. 

Over the past few months, I’ve been asked more questions by Eagles fans about Bell than any other potential free agent target. And I understand why. The last time we saw Bell, he was an All-Pro player in 2017 and arguably the best running back and football. And he would have been a perfect fit with the Eagles and Doug Pederson’s offense. 

Bell, 27, rushed for over 1,200 yards in 2016 and 2017 and was a dynamic receiver out of the backfield. Everything about him was a fit for the Eagles. 

But it was never likely that Bell was going to join the Eagles. His new $13.125 million average yearly salary was likely too rich for the Eagles, even if it is considerably lower than what Bell wanted. 

Bell sat out the entire 2018 season, but based on his new contract, that decision might have backfired. He would have made $14.5 million on a franchise tag last season. 

The type of market he seemed to expect this offseason never developed. But it also obviously didn’t dip to the point where the Eagles felt comfortable hopping in at the last second. I’m sure the Eagles did their due diligence, but it wouldn’t be their style to break the bank like this for a free agent running back. 

Even though Bell is going to the Jets, the Eagles still have plenty of options. There are several free agent running back candidates and possible trade targets. And even if they don’t get a running back in free agency, there’s the draft in April. 

As I re-ranked the Eagles’ needs today (see story), I put running back at the top of the list. I think they need a feature back to take their offense to the next level. Bell would have been that type of player, but now that he’s heading to the Jets, the Eagles and the rest of us can focus on the other options. 

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What other Philly athletes would make the best tamperers?

What other Philly athletes would make the best tamperers?

My life has been consumed with the idea of Bryce Harper recruiting Eagles superfan (and two-time AL MVP) Mike Trout to come join the Phillies in 2021. With tampering ever-present in my mind, I look at why the Phils should continue their pursuit of Trout and a handful of other athletes that Philadelphia teams should begin tampering with right now. I’ve also taken it upon myself to anoint a current Philly player as the one to lead the tampering charge. Here we go:

Mike Trout

The Holy Grail of Philly Tampering. The Prince Who Was Promised. I wrote yesterday that Harper’s courting of Trout and the Angels’ subsequent hissy fit is not only hilarious, but a completely fruitless endeavor. As a man who was once convinced that Nick Foles would be disastrous in the playoffs last winter and that Markelle Fultz would a perennial All-NBA guard, I’ve never been more sure of anything than the fact that Trout will be in red pinstripes at Citizens Bank Park on Opening Day 2021.

Keep putting the squeeze on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of California of the West Coast, Bryce. The Angels’ complaints about tampering are only delaying the inevitable.

Top Tamperer: Harper obviously.

 

Le’Veon Bell

“Legal” tampering begins on Monday for NFL free agency, but that shouldn’t stop the Eagles from getting in on Le’Veon Bell’s good side before then. I have no real sense of what Bell’s market will be this month. Will his refusal to suit up last season hamper how much he can cash in? 

Maybe the market sours on Bell and he is only able to take a one-year deal, much like Alshon Jeffery did two years ago. During the 2016 season, the Eagles kicked the tires on trying to acquire Jeffery from the Bears mid-year only to sign him once free agency came. The Eagles were rumored to be interested in trading for Bell last fall. With Howie Roseman’s wizardry at the Birds’ disposal, I wouldn’t count out history repeating itself.

Top Tamperer: Cre’Von LeBlanc. I would trust Cre’Von to do my taxes, dogsit my pit-terrier mix Bruce and with my life overall. If he wants to head the committee to have Bell make the move towards Eastern Pennsylvania, as he’s already made known on Twitter, there may be no man more more capable of the job.


 

Earl Thomas

Yet another installment in a guy who seemed destined to play in Philadelphia. Earl Thomas is Former Next Dawkins. Roseman and the Eagles may have overplayed their hand by extending Rodney McLeod’s contract ahead of what will be a crowded safety market this offseason, but what if the franchise pursues another vet at the position in free agency?

I’m obviously diving into wild hypotheticals, but what if the Birds let Jordan Hicks walk as a free agent and essentially play Big Dime with three safeties as their base formation? Jim Schwartz loved utilizing that package during the franchise’s Super Bowl-winning campaign two years ago with a healthy McLeod and a not-yet-washed-up Corey Graham opposite Malcolm Jenkins. It also serves as a proactive depth move with McLeod coming off a season-ending knee injury in case he doesn’t quite return to his 2017 form.

Top Tamperer: Brandon Graham. A sizeable portion of the Eagles fan base still held ill will towards Graham before 2017 on account of him being Not Earl Thomas, as the safety was a presumed and popular choice for the Eagles in the 2010 NFL Draft. Graham was selected one pick ahead of Thomas. Time is a flat circle. BG should help bring Thomas along for the Eagles’ next ride to the postseason with both players looking for their second Super Bowl ring.

 

D’Angelo Russell

Imagine a world where the Lakers selected Jahlil Okafor instead of D’Angelo Russell with the second pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, allowing Russell to fall to the Sixers with third-overall selection. His silky smooth offensive game would’ve been a perfect match to develop alongside both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Elton Brand and the Sixers have a chance to right the wrongs of the Okafor era and pursue D’Angelo Russell in restricted free agency this summer.

If the Nets were to decide in favor of keeping cap flexibility for superstar-level talent this summer, the Sixers should absolutely make a move on Russell. I’m sort of over the Jimmy Butler Experience and the negative energy that’s persisted around the team in 2019. Let’s say the Sixers let him walk, clear some cap space and hit “Voodoo” Russell with an offer sheet. They’d have Russell, Embiid, Simmons, JJ Redick and Tobias Harris as they fight for a Finals berth in 2020. Sign me up for that.

Top Tamperer: Duh, Embiid. The social media king may have learned from his mistake of recruiting LeBron James over the years and he should turn his attention to a more attainable target. Russell was briefly high school teammates with Embiid (and later Simmons) at Montverde Academy in Florida. The school’s mascot is an Eagle, so the stars have clearly aligned and there’s 100 percent chance of this happening. Go Birds.

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Bryce Harper already appears to be recruiting stars to play in Philly

Bryce Harper already appears to be recruiting stars to play in Philly

The Bryce Harper to the Phillies deal isn't even official yet, but it appears the former MVP is already recruiting stars to Philadelphia as promised.

Just not necessarily for the Phillies, per se.

That's if former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell Instagram stories are to be taken at face value.

Bell hasn't been shy about his public flirting with the Eagles, hoping Howie Roseman's club make an offer to the dynamic running back. Bell flirted again on Friday, this time in Bryce Harper's direction in his IG story.

Bell shared a story about Harper signing with the Phillies that also said it's LeVeon's turn next. Bell added "Philly going crazy right now" and sent congrats in Harper's direction.

Then Bell shared what appears to be an amazing DM from Bryce Harper's account:

Aye come join! Let's take this city by storm. Bring as many titles as we can to the greatest city in the world. Brotherly Love. #securethebag

Bring all the bags to Philadelphia, I say.

Other Philly athletes like Alshon Jeffery and Ben Simmons have also tweeted about Philly being the place to be slash greatest sports city in world.

Somewhere, Mike Trout is reading all of this while wearing his Eagles pajamas.

Here's a look at the amazing IG story:



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