- The Baltimore Ravens are desperate to get some depth at the running back position following a season ending injury to both J.K. Dobbins and Justice Hill.
- The Ravens worked out several running backs on Monday including Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman.
- Bell was once considered among the best in the league at the position but sabotaged his career with a contract dispute.
With season ending injuries to a pair of running backs in less than a week, the Baltimore Ravens have entered ‘desperation mode’. That’s the only explanation for their willingness to bring in head case Le’Veon Bell to work out. Bell was one of several running backs brought in by the team–a group which also included former Atlanta Falcons’ back and solid pro Devonta Freeman.
With season ending injuries to Justice Hill and J.K. Dobbins, the Ravens are down to just two running backs on their depth chart. Gus Edwards is penciled in as the starting running back heading into the 2021 NFL season with rookie Ty’Son WIlliams out of BYU as his backup. The Ravens’ leading rusher, of course, is anti-vaxxer quarterback Lamar Jackson. With this tenuous situation at the running back position it makes sense for Baltimore to at least look at the possibility of adding depth at the position.
What doesn’t make sense is even the thought of adding Le’Veon Bell to the team. Bell was at one point considered among the best running backs in the league during his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers. During his run in the Steel City, Bell was a three time Pro Bowler and named to the league’s All Pro team twice. As so often happens, however, Bell got an overly inflated sense of self worth to the point that he became disenchanted with his $14.5 million per year contract. He sat out the 2018 season and the Steelers couldn’t cut him loose quickly enough.
The next year, he signed a four year $52.5 million USD contract with the New York Jets. $35 million was guaranteed which made him the second highest paid running back in the NFL. He made it through the 2019 season but was injured early in the 2020 season. He became disillusioned with the team and requested a trade. Not surprisingly, the Jets couldn’t find anyone interested in Bell and he was released by the Jets on October 13, 2020. He signed on with the Kansas City Chiefs for the rest of the year and after being used sparingly was not brought back by the team. Bell managed to burn this bridge as well, saying that he’d sooner retire than return to Kansas City.
It’s unclear why the Ravens would want Bell–particularly if a solid pro and non-head case like Devonta Freeman is available. It could be shaping up to be an ugly year in Baltimore. After going 14-2 in 2019, the Ravens regressed to 11-5 in 2020. A bigger concern was Lamar Jackson who also regressed–particularly as a passer. His refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19 is a disaster waiting to happen.
The betting marketplace isn’t exactly bullish on the Ravens either. At BetOnline.ag, the team’s O/U win total is set at 11 with the ‘Under’ priced at -130. On the other hand, Baltimore is a co-sixth choice in the Super Bowl futures market at +1600 along with the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers.