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ESPN speculates Le'Veon Bell to Texans

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http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/25886188/ten-bold-nfl-predictions-2019-season-landing-spot-leveon-foles

#2 on the list, ESPN thinks Le'Veon Bell signs with the Texans.

Personally, not a signing I want. Bell is mercenary beyond the norm, and anonymous rookie James Conner stepped right in and performed similarly to him, raising questions about how much he is a product of a great PIT o-line. He would tie up a huge chunk of cap for that risk. He's also been suspended for foolish weed offenses twice.

What do you guys think?

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It's a pass for me, dawg

Although arguably one of the benefits of Le'Veon is that "he brings his own OL"

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2 hours ago, Texans02 said:

What do you guys think?

I'd prefer Mark Ingram if we're going to add a FA RB. On skill alone, Ingram is the inferior RB...but he comes off as a team player, a guy who took to the emergence of Alvin Kamara in a positive way and actually has some tread on his tires with that committee. Even with the year off, Bell has some heavy workloads on his resume and an injury history to be mindful of. 

I think Ingram would do well with a timeshare with Lamar Miller, whereas Bell would be looking to be THE guy and not looking to give up snaps to Miller (who proved to still have some juice left in the bottle).

The money factor is also huge - Ingram isn't setting the market like Bell would.

Tevin Coleman also comes to mind, but he didn't exactly inspire confidence when he took on the lead back role after Devonta Freeman went down. There were some good games against bad defenses, but some putrid games against some average defenses. If you're of the mindset that Coleman's season is more to do with the emergence of Ito Smith and Steve Sarkesain's inept playcalling, then you might have a buy low kinda guy who turn into a very strong piece of an offense, but I'd rather let someone else take that risk. This does seem like a Texans/Gaine/O'Brien move, however.

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I sincerely wonder if Bell overplayed his hand. Can he really get the 4 yr/60 mil+ deal that he seems very self-assured of getting? James Connor really screwed him (unintentionally) by mirroring his production as a completely unheralded mid-round pick. He's got 5 high-mileage NFL seasons so far, along with being a feature back at MSU. Add in Bell's constant "will he or won't he" drama about playing last season and if I'm a GM, I see way too much potential for "reason 1A for my firing" once this mega-deal goes sideways.

There's usually a sucker team willing to roll the dice (see: Vikings fully guaranteeing Cousins, then Cousins doing his trademark crunch-time chokes and their SB dreams becoming no postseason at all). I'm hoping the Texans aren't the mark that offers him that contract.

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4 hours ago, Texans02 said:

I sincerely wonder if Bell overplayed his hand. Can he really get the 4 yr/60 mil+ deal that he seems very self-assured of getting?

I think so - I mean, Gurley got 4/$57, and Bell is a more versatile player overall. 

4 hours ago, Texans02 said:

James Connor really screwed him (unintentionally) by mirroring his production as a completely unheralded mid-round pick

I think people are overplaying this - Conner was viewed as a 1st round talent before he was diagnosed with cancer. I'd surmise that many teams aren't going to hit on mid rounders of this calibur. For every James Connor, you'll have an Amir Abdullah or Christine Michael...

4 hours ago, Texans02 said:

He's got 5 high-mileage NFL seasons so far, along with being a feature back at MSU. Add in Bell's constant "will he or won't he" drama about playing last season and if I'm a GM, I see way too much potential for "reason 1A for my firing" once this mega-deal goes sideways.

This probably has more weight - this whole debacle with Pittsburgh shows he's not a "football-first" kind of guy.  A GM might be able to look the other way, but any self respecting HC won't.

4 hours ago, Texans02 said:

There's usually a sucker team willing to roll the dice (see: Vikings fully guaranteeing Cousins, then Cousins doing his trademark crunch-time chokes and their SB dreams becoming no postseason at all). I'm hoping the Texans aren't the mark that offers him that contract.

I sincerely doubt BOB/Gaine will go for a guy who doesn't go 100% with his football commitment. We see BOB throwing Dont'a Foreman under the bus for not being in game shape following a significant injury - and this comes from last season, when Foreman was clearly the best RB on the roster by a large margin, but lost snaps to Miller and Blue - and the only comment were "He needs to learn how to be a professional" which is basically coachspeak for a guy not working hard enough. 

Bell is talented, would be an immediate #1 and would probably do well. But he's not going to watch film before sunrise and he won't be the guy turning out the lights in the weight room, so they won't give him the money he's looking for.

And I'm OK with that.

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better us than the colts, but only if we draft a crap ton of OL

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12 hours ago, Texans02 said:

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/25886188/ten-bold-nfl-predictions-2019-season-landing-spot-leveon-foles

#2 on the list, ESPN thinks Le'Veon Bell signs with the Texans.

Personally, not a signing I want. Bell is mercenary beyond the norm, and anonymous rookie James Conner stepped right in and performed similarly to him, raising questions about how much he is a product of a great PIT o-line. He would tie up a huge chunk of cap for that risk. He's also been suspended for foolish weed offenses twice.

What do you guys think?

The only thing I don't like about the "Conner stepped right in and performed similarly" argument is he didn't quite do that.  Bell being a fantastic RB and Pittsburgh having a stellar OL (especially when it comes to run-blocking) are not mutually-exclusive.  The concerns about the ego and not being a "football-first" guy hold water.  Not necessarily sure that "mercenary" fits.  He was - pretty darn noticeably - the best back in the league for several years and was in a position similar to where guys like Odell Beckham is currently or Aaron Donald/Von Miller were previously where they didn't just want to be paid as "the best at their positions," they wanted - and had a legitimate case to at least table a demand for - top pay among players on their respective side of the ball.  And yes, compared to other skill position players, RB's are perceived to have less leverage in that regard because they're considered to be more easily replaceable (and in Bell's case he also had his previous run-ins with the league Substance Abuse Policy), but Bell also realized (or his agent did, at least) that he had leverage too, given that the Steelers have built a financial/cap-sustaining model built on the contracts being structured in such a way that there's a wink-wink/nod-nod agreement built-in whereby the player will agree to have salary monies converted to bonus circa Year 3 of the contract so that the cap hit can be spread out for the benefit of the team.

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I dont really want to spend big on the RB position, but if we go out and get him, I wont complain. We never use all the money we have anyway. Why not, as long as we cut Miller in the process. 

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Hard pass.   Gaine rebuilt the roster with high character hard workers.  Bell sacrificed a narrowing window for a Super Bowl ring because he felt "unappreciated" with a contract that was going to pay him $45 million in the first 3 years.  Talented, special player for sure, but also a dope smoking wannabe rapper who seems to prefer that lifestyle over a professional locker room.  O'Brien ain't Tomlin and frankly, I'd give it 4 games before Bell hops on twitter and starts undermining his team and teammates.  This ain't baseball - you don't get paid for what you did the last 6 years (really he's only had 2 great ones and 1 good one) - he's a 27 year old RB - who wants $17 million per season until he's 32 when his replacement played BETTER than him for $578k - 1/30th of what Bell makes.  People keep ignoring that Bell barely hit 4.0 ypc behind that line with those weapons in 2017 (Conner was 4.5ypc behind that line with more 100 yard games in a ROW than Bell had all season) - it's hard to imagine a year of living the high life will be a motivator since he routinely shows up out of shape. 

I don't care how much cap space we have - signing any RB for $17m is foolhardy, especially one that has all the signs of being a paycheck player looking for "mogul money" so he can relax.   My bet is that Bell actually has a stellar 2019 for someone like the Jets which all the pundits use to show how dumb the Steelers were - then Bell shows up 2020 unmotivated and out of shape and throw in another suspension or two and the next 4 years the Jets are saddled with $60 million regrets to go with the $15 good ones - proving making Bell "earn it" protected both him and the Steelers.

Edited by Apollo Stallion

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Fun fact - 11 of the top 12 qualified ypc leaders were on rookie contracts.  The one guy on a 2nd contract is Melvin Gordon, playing on a 4 year/$10 million deal.  1/7th - 1/8th of what Bell wants.  You'll never get over the hump of mediocrity trying to moneyball the game exclusively with rookie deals (7 picks a year x 4 year rookie deals = 28 players or 1/2 a roster), but rookie deals on RBs lets you pay the real difference makers like Watt. 

  • Aaron Jones - 5.5
  • Kerryon Johnson - 5.4
  • Philip Lindsey - 5.3 - undrafted
  • Matt Brieda - 5.3 - undrafted
  • Gus Edwards - 5.2 - undrafted
  • Austin Ekeler - 5.2 - undrafted
  • Nick Chubb - 5.2
  • Melvin Gordon - 5.1
  • Christian McAffery - 5.0
  • Saquan Barkley - 5.0
  • Joe Mixon - 4.9
  • Derrick Henry - 4.9
  • Not too much further down the list are Chris Carson, Isiah Crowell, Tevin Coleman, and Marlon Mack
  • Oh yes - and Lamar Miller avgd 4.6 ypc - Lev's career avg is 4.3ypc.
  • And CJ Anderson got picked up off the scrap heap and avgd 6.0 ypc
Edited by Apollo Stallion

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I don't remember Connor as being an unheralded guy. As ET said, he dropped due to the cancer fight and uncertainty at what exactly that meant for his future as an NFL player. As an ACC football fan, I can tell you that I was well aware of what he was capable of...I got to see him in person and it was pretty impressive.

As far as Bell, I'm with most everyone else on here. I'm a hard pass on him. He wants entirely too much money for a guy on the downhill swing to the dreaded 30 year old RB plateau with at the very least "character questions" and the worst he has full blown character defects. I like Ingram and Coleman as possibilities, but more so Ingram because he's the between the tackles guy to Miller's outside run and catch out of the backfield type, though both are able to fill both roles somewhat successfully.

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