Could Le’Veon Bell be destined to become a Detroit Lion?

When thinking about the great rushing attacks in the NFL, it’s safe to say the Detroit Lions have not entered the equation for a long, long time. In fact, the Lions have not had a player lead the league in rushing since the great Barry Sanders put up 2,053 yards in his memorable 1997 season and have not had a top 10 rusher since 1998 when Sanders was fourth in the league with 1,491 yards on the ground.

Since Sanders retired, the Lions have failed to get their rushing game going, year after year, after year. Sure, much of those struggles are directly related to the lack of a solid offensive line, but it also has to do with the Lions not having running backs capable of being one of the best in the league.

Now, a thought has surfaced that one of the best running backs in the NFL, Le’Veon Bell could become a Detroit Lion as soon as the 2018 season.

This week on the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football show, Kyle Brandt and Tiki Barber were having a discussion about where they could see Bell playing next season and Brandt had a thought that has many Lions fans excited.

“If he leaves Pittsburgh, you know Le’Veon, Go Sparty, I would love to see him in Honolulu Blue with the Lions. That’s what I would love. They need that running game, Ameer Abdullah, we’re waiting, we’re waiting. Matthew Stafford would love it,” Brandt said.

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Why would Bell leave the Steelers?

Bell, of course, is the starting running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers and is considered by most to be one of the best, if not THE best back in the league. Not only is he an outstanding runner with great vision, but Bell also happens to be one of the best receiving backs in the NFL.

So how in the world would he become a Detroit Lion?

Well, Bell and the Steelers have not been able to reach an agreement on a contract extension which means he will play the 2017 season under the Exclusive Franchise Tag.


“Unfortunately, we were unable to agree to terms on a long-term contract with Le’Veon Bell prior to today’s deadline,” said General Manager Kevin Colbert in a statement. “Le’Veon is scheduled to play this year under the Exclusive Franchise Tag designation. We will resume our efforts to address his contract situation following the 2017 season.”

The former Michigan State star has made it clear that he is not just a running back and is not willing to accept running back pay.

Dream or Reality?

Even if the Lions sign Matthew Stafford and Ezekiel Ansah to extensions, they are expected to have a good deal of cap room heading into the 2018 season so it is possible they could pay Bell what he is looking for.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s fascinating for Lions fans (and Michigan State fans) to imagine Bell in the Honolulu Blue and Silver but it seems like more of a dream than anything else.

First of all, the Lions have faith that Ameer Abdullah, who missed most of the 2017 season with an injury, will emerge as a top-tier back in the league. Heading into the offseason, many considered running back to be a position of need for Detroit. Apparently, Lions GM Bob Quinn disagreed with that notion and is comfortable rolling with Abdullah, at least for the foreseeable future.

When trying to place Bell on the Lions, it’s also important to remember the most important thing of all. The Pittsburgh Steelers realize that they have one of the best and chances are they are going to do everything they can to keep him around.

Could Bell end up demanding more money than the Steelers are willing to pay? Sure. Even so, envisioning Quinn and the Lions overpaying for a running back seems unlikely (and wise) at this point.

That being said, if Ameer Abdullah were to fall flat on his face this season, anything is possible.

Written by Don Drysdale

I am a fan of all Detroit sports and LOVE to write about them!

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