The Miami Dolphins are enjoying a more productive running game thus far in 2020 than the one that they put on display throughout the 2019 campaign. The team is showing some punch and power up front and although there isn’t a consistency to finishing their blocks and sealing gaps, the Dolphins clearly have more talent up front and their ability to execute in the ground game shows flashes of promise. Furthermore, Miami’s backs are more diverse this year as well. Myles Gaskin is thriving in a year two role in the offense and Matt Breida continues to create chunk gains on limited touches.
But inevitably, any time a big name hits the open market, the question will be asked:
“Should the Dolphins sign him?”
In this case, ‘him’ is former Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell. There were continued whispers and reports that the Jets were looking to trade Bell this offseason, but no trade agreements were able to be found. That was, in large part, because $8M of Bell’s 2021 salary was guaranteed due to injury. Any team taking on Bell via trade would have to account for that money being locked into place. Which would be fine if you were getting the Pittsburgh Steelers version of Bell — but we haven’t seen that caliber of play from the back in several seasons.
Which culminated with the Jets serving Bell his outright release last night, making him an unrestricted free agent. Bell will be willing to sign anywhere that he’d like: would Miami be a fit.
From a personnel perspective, Bell is a more diverse player than Jordan Howard. That isn’t up for debate. But how much life is left in Bell’s legs at this point certainly is — and there’s not a strong chance Bell will play to sign anywhere on the cheap. Bell scored 4 touchdowns and averaged under 4.0 yards per carry through 17 games with the Jets, which makes paying a high dollar amount difficult to consider. And finally, when you consider the flaws in Miami’s running game this season and their inconsistency to hold their blocks at the point of attack, a patient style runner like Bell would likely get frustrated and bottled up trying to run behind Miami’s line.
It’s a fun idea, but between the cost, Bell’s age and the lack of chemistry between Miami’s talent and Bell’s skill set, this is a hard sell. The Dolphins should absolutely pass on trying to sign Le’Veon Bell.