On Tuesday night’s Buffalo-Tennessee game schedule, the New York Jets announced they have released a two-time All-Pro running back to Le’veon Bell. The 0-5 Jets allegedly tried to find a team that was willing to trade for Bell, but general manager Joe Douglas clearly found insufficient interest. Instead of keeping Bell on the list, New York decided to cut him straight and accept a hit dead-money cap of more than $ 19 million. Although short, Bell’s time in New York earned him: In 17 games played as a Jet, Bell earned 1.7 times more than he earned in six years and 62 games played as a Pittsburgh Steeler.
This Thursday night, Bell stood up, upgrading from one of the worst teams in the NFL to reigning champions in the Kansas City Super Bowl. Bell signed a one-year deal with the team, according to ESPN̵7;s Adam Schefter. (Terms not disclosed.)
This is a strange move for Kansas City. The Chiefs just spent their first-round draft pick (32nd overall) on RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire in April. It’s true that Kansas City has not been a great football rush this year: They rank 27th in the expected added points (EPA) per hurried game so far. But Bell will come directly from the ranking team dead last. What exactly do the Chiefs expect to get from signing the Bell?
Running football in NFL success is more about the scheme and play line than the player who carries the football. And this season has given us a lot of additional evidence that, in today’s NFL, running backs are much more interchangeable. Even the highest paid players in the position did not offer much in the way of making this year compared to their backups.
Christian McCaffrey, the highest paid player in the NFL, dropped a high ankle sprain on Week 2. With his loss, the Carolina Panthers turned to traveler Mike Davis, a former draft pick in the fourth round. in his fourth NFL team averaging just 28.4 combined rushing and receiving yards per game over 49 regular season games. But since Davis sat as the lead back, the previously unbeaten Panther has won three straight games. With the win, Davis scored three touchdowns and averaged 117 yards from scrimmage per game – defeating first-round pick McCaffery’s 113-yard pick.
A similar story was played last week in Seattle. In Minnesota’s Week 5 game against the Seattle Seahawks, the Vikings lost the star running back Dalvin Cook in the third quarter with a groin injury. Cook’s backup, Alexander Mattison, went in and continued the rush for 112 yards on 20 carries, both high races.
Even before the season began, the Jacksonville Jaguars cut ties with former quarterback Leonard Fournette, and instead chose to turn to James Robinson, an undrafted rookie show of Illinois State. While Jacksonville had just one win at the time, Robinson gave the team three touchdowns and 103.2 all-purpose yards per game – outlining the 101.1-yard Fournette averaged while with the Jaguars.
In Cleveland, Nick Chubb was very fast at the start of the season, averaging 5.9 yards per carry and 88.1 all-purpose yards per game with four touchdowns for the Browns. But he suffered a knee injury on Week 4, giving backup Kareem Hunt a chance. He filled a pleasant win in Week 5 against Indianapolis, recording a touchdown and amassing 93 yards from scrimmage.
Examples are not confined to 2020, either. In 2018, when Hunt was released by the same Kansas City Chiefs who just signed Bell, Damien Williams filled in without losing, averaging 107.3 yards from scrimmage and 1.3 touchdowns in regular season games. he, compared to 109 yards from scrimmage and 1.4 touchdowns for Hunt.
That same year, Todd Gurley injured his knee and missed the last two games of a season where he was in an early conversation for league MVP. His replacement, CJ Anderson – a traveler on his fourth team of the year – Performed very well Gurley was relegated to a backup role when he returned from injury while in the playoffs.
Bell may not order a high price tag for the Chiefs, but history indicates that they have an answer to any running back problem they may face on the list – and it is unlikely to be a back operation.
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