Tampa Bay Buccaneers have agreed to a deal with former Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. The move comes less than 24 hours after the Bucs learned they will be without their leading back Leonard Fournette for the remainder of the season.
Bell will join the Bucs after playing five games with the Baltimore Ravens earlier in 2021. He managed 31 carries for 83 yards and two touchdowns before being cut in late November.
The Buccaneers are expected to make the move official once Bell passes his physical.
Despite his struggles in recent years, Bell should have a prominent role in Tampa Bay from the get-go. The team’s backfield has been depleted by injuries in recent weeks, and they don’t have much depth on the position. Their current options include former starter Ronald Jones, who has had a quiet year so far and isn’t a major factor in the passing game, and second-year player Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who only had 11 carries this season.
Le’Veon Bell was once considered one of the best running backs in the game, receiving three Pro Bowl nods during his first five years in NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, Bell’s career has been on a downward trajectory ever since he sat out the 2018 season due to a contract dispute with the Steelers.
Bell signed a big-time contract with the New York Jets ahead of the 2019 season but failed to replicate his production from his early years as a pro. He lasted less than two seasons in New York before embarking on unsuccessful stints with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Ravens.
But if there is any place where Bell could resurrect his career, Tampa Bay should be it. The Buccaneers already helped Bell’s former Steelers teammate Antonio Brown to become a factor in the league again, so it would be a surprise if they do the same for him.