With the New York Jets releasing veteran running back Le’Veon Bell on Tuesday, it leaves a major question — should the Chicago Bears consider signing the former Pro Bowl running back?
This rumor comes after reports from ESPN suggest the Bears seriously are looking at picking up Bell off the waiver wire after the Jets failed to find a trade partner earlier in the week.
Some might think Bell hasn’t been too productive in the previous couple of years, so he should not be considered for the Bears. However, that is more than likely the result of Bell positioning himself to play for a dumpster-fire of a franchise that is the Jets. New York simply has failed to put the necessary pieces around Bell to allow him to flourish, similarly to what they have done to quarterback Sam Darnold.
That being said, with the Bears struggling to run the football during the past couple of weeks, there is no doubt Chicago fans should be calling for Bell to suit up in orange and blue. This season, the Bears are ranked 25th in the NFL in total rushing yards and dead last in rushing touchdowns.
It’s a huge hole in the Bears’ offense, which has been covered up by the fact they sit at 4-1 overall. And that is why general manager Ryan Pace should pull the trigger on Bell fast, given the Bears already have gotten past the easiest part of their schedule, picking up wins against marginal teams such as Detroit, the New York Giants and Atlanta.
There is no question the Bears’ offense lacks explosiveness outside of wide receiver Allen Robinson. With Tarik Cohen out for the season with an ACL injury, the Bears certainly could use an addition to the passing game. Bell immediately could step in and take Cohen’s role in the offense.
During his time in Pittsburgh and New York, Bell has totaled 381 receptions, including three seasons of 600-plus receiving yards. His addition would help new starting quarterback Nick Foles, who has been erratic since replacing Mitchell Trubisky.
Some could argue Bell could stunt David Montgomery’s growth, but the Bears don’t have the luxury to worry about that. Obviously, it is yet to be determined whether or not Montgomery can become the everyday three-down back Bears fans envisioned when Chicago drafted him in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He might develop into that, but so far, the Bears have flopped against the strong run defenses of the Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the previous two weeks without Cohen.
Ever since Cohen went down with his ACL injury, Montgomery has been anything but consistent. In the past two weeks as the feature back, Montgomery has totaled just 56 yards on 20 carries and 10 catches for 60 yards against the Colts and Buccaneers. In Montgomery’s career, he only has accumulated two 100-yard games in his first 21 starts.
Assuming Bell could debut Oct. 26 against the Los Angeles Rams, he would become a 10-game rental for close to the veteran’s minimum. That itself won’t ruin Montgomery’s career going into next season. Montgomery can survive a brief reduction in opportunities for a two-time First-Team All-Pro (2014, 2017) who is still more than a year away form his dreaded 30th birthday, the unofficial sell-by date for running backs in the NFL.