With the offense battling injuries, some fans and media are wondering whether Le’Veon Bell could cure what ails the Eagles — and at least one NFL reporter believes the Eagles are actually sleepers to acquire the disgruntled ball carrier.
Once ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Steelers were willing to trade Bell, it wasn’t long before speculation began as to the Eagles’ potential interest locally. Running backs Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles were each hampered by injuries the past two games. Additionally, the offense has been hurting without receivers Alshon Jeffery and Mike Wallace.
Yet, a reporter with national connections also sees the Eagles and Bell as a plausible match, giving the rumor legs.
“[This would be] the ultimate Howie Roseman move,” said Jason La Canfora for CBS Sports, referring to the Eagles’ de facto GM. “Trade Nick Foles, get something back for him and then blammo, create cap space and money. Go to your owner and say, ‘I'm going to turn Nick Foles into Le'Veon Bell, all you gotta do is pay him.’ Jay Ajayi is up at the end of the year anyway. They have no commitment to him. Sproles is banged up again. Do they really want to be going into games with Corey Clement and whatever else? That's my sleeper team.
“With [Carson Wentz], there's going to be a lot of three-step drops. Who better to go out there and save the day? They're obviously trying to win right now. They've already made a financial commitment so that's not an owner who is going to let $8 million scuttle the chance to get an All-Pro, every-down running back.”
In a vacuum, who wouldn’t want Bell? The guy topped 1,884 yards from scrimmage in three of the last four regular seasons while playing 16 games just once. He’s special.
Adding him to the Eagles is also more complicated than La Canfora and others make it seem.
Even supposing the Eagles don’t need Foles (a gamble) and Roseman could foist the Super Bowl MVP on another team (not a given), is that really necessary? Ajayi and Sproles could be back this week, easing concerns in the backfield, and though Bell is better than the current crop of runners, what exactly becomes of them in such a scenario?
The biggest issue is what happens beyond 2018. Say the Eagles pull it off and Bell signs for $8 million — that’s $8 million the Eagles don’t carry over into 2019, with an extension for Wentz looming and several of the club’s high-profile players heading to free agency.
It’s a steep price, at a position there isn’t a glaring need, and assumes Bell is signable or would earn the snaps in a new offense and crowded backfield to be worth that amount of money.
Sleeper is another word for “long shot,” which is probably apt.
When a talent of Bell’s caliber is available, usually the Eagles call, so it’s not out of the question. Doing such a deal, on the other hand, looks like more trouble than it’s worth.