Photo Credit: DailySnark
There have been a lot of rumors around Le’Veon Bell throughout the season thus far. One that continues to emerge would be Bell signing with the Indianapolis Colts this offseason. The Colts will have the most cap in the NFL per Spotrac and have a great offensive line that could be intriguing to Le’Veon Bell. Many Colts fans, however, have said that the Colts should not go after Le’Veon Bell as Marlon Mack continues to shine, and Nyhiem Hines becomes a better receiver every week. While it is true Chris Ballard is unlikely to spend big money, as he seems to be more interested in building through the draft than free agency. Despite this many of the reasons Colts fans give for not wanting Le’Veon Bell should not stand in the Colts way. Here are a few reasons and why the Colts would not sign Bell, and why they should not stop the Colts from getting an all-time great HB.
1.) Too much for a running back
This is typically the number one reason people in Indianapolis do not want to add Bell. Bell will reportedly cost a team between 15-18 million over 4-5 years. Many argue that is absurd for a running back, and that money could be used better elsewhere. While this may be true, the Colts are projected to have over 125 million dollars this offseason due to roll over money, the Colts have no chance in spending that much money on different players, with a young core and many strong pieces, there are not many holes to fill. Starting CBs, another WR, and another LB is the extent of needs for the Colts. With two picks in the second round and a first-round pick, the Colts will be able to fill some of those holes. The cap space will be used for luxury purposes. The Colts young core simply does not have enough needs that will cost 125 million and even if it did, not enough players would come to spend that much money.
2.) Save Cap for the young players
Others talk about the youth of the Colts and cap must be saved to be able to afford them. This is one of the biggest misconceptions of the way NFL contracts work. With so little guaranteed money, there is little penalty for NFL contracts. All Colts fans will tell you how terrible Ryan Grigson was in Free Agency, from Andre Johnson to Ricky Jean Francois the Colts spent big money on bust players. The thing not talked about is while it hurt us that season it never hurt us long term. Since there is little-guaranteed money and especially after the first year or two of a contract, the Colts were able to always cut players and restart. The Colts have been in the top 10 teams with cap space every year since 2012, despite spending big and striking out. There is no penalty for taking risks. The Colts can give Bell four years and even up the pay to 20-25 million in the first season or two and have it all guaranteed, they have the cap space. The back end will not be guaranteed, no NFL is lining up to give Bell a fully guaranteed contract. The Colts have very few rookie contracts expiring in the next two years, as the Grigson era classes of 2014 and 2015 that would be expiring did not produce any. The 2016 class in three years only has Ryan Kelly, so realistically the Colts have four years before they have to dig deep into their pockets, by then Bell’s guaranteed money will definitely be gone, and the Colts can cut him with no penalty at all.
Photo Credit: Barstool
3.) Colts current running backs are good enough
This is the strongest argument, and I really understand it, considering I am a HUGE Marlon Mack supporter. He is on my fantasy team and when he was drafted, I thought he had the potential to be an elite NFL running back. Even I must admit however that Le’Veon Bell is an upgrade. Marlon Mack still has weak games when the Colts play strong defenses such as the Jaguars and has down stretches, which included a three-game stretch before the Cowboys game. While Bell is will have off games, he has not had a three-game stretch as bad as Macks was in his career, he is a far more consistent producer and part of that is due to is catching ability. Mack has solid catching ability, but it is not elite like Bell, that is where Hines has stepped in for the Colts. The issue with this is when Hines comes into the game pressure on Luck rises because the defense knows a pass is likely and Hines blocking ability is not as strong as Mack (an underrated pass blocker) or Le’Veon Bell. With Bell, the defense must respect him at all times running and receiving, while also having to scheme against one of the greatest QBs in the NFL in Andrew Luck.
With the way, the NFL contracts are given the upside to Le’Veon Bell far outweigh the downsides, and there is no offense better suited for Bell right now. While running backs might not be needed in the NFL, I am sure the Saints and Rams will tell you, it does not hurt to have an elite player keeping the defense honest. With the Colts offensive line and Andrew Luck at the helm, Bell might be the only thing between the Colts and an offense that rivals the saints and rams. With the rise of Darius Leonard, the Colts would still have 90+ million (90 would mean 30 million for Bell) to target a few starting cornerbacks and three picks in the first two rounds. Players with Bell’s talent do not hit free agency often in the NFL, this is an opportunity the Colts just can not pass up.