Apparently, Derek Carr is just like most Raiders fans. He’d love to see former Steelers star running back Le’Veon Bell in a silver-and-black uniform in 2019.
Bell, who sat out 2018 in a contract dispute with the Steelers, will soon be a free agent, and the Raiders – who may or may not bring back Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin next season following the expiration of their contracts – could be a great landing spot for him.
This week, after Bell talked to Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and learned the Steelers will not use their franchise tag to keep him, Bell posted a message on Twitter, indicating he was finally free and happy to be a pending unrestricted free agent.
And, as Anthony Galaviz of the Fresno Bee noted, Raiders quarterback Carr (who is from Fresno) posted his approval – liking Bell’s post -- which caused some Raiders fans to happily respond to Carr’s like.
The Raiders have been seen by several NFL analysts to be a possible new destination for Bell.
Vinnie Iyer of The Sporting News Friday listed the Raiders, Dolphins and Jets as the most likely fits for Bell because of their room under the salary cap and their need for a high-impact running back.
Iyer went so far as to read the mind of head coach Jon Gruden. Wrote Iyer: “Given how much coach Jon Gruden seems to love big-name veterans in his offense, he would sign off on making Bell a hefty offer.”
Matt Miller of Bleacher Report also wrote he believes the Raiders are the team to watch because, “They have the money, massive need at RB and a duo at HC-GM that wants to juice up the fan base.”
Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports agrees, writing this week that the Raiders are expected to have about $81 million of space under the salary cap and a giant hole in the backfield for a No. 1 back if Oakland decides to move on from Lynch and Martin.
Bell, who turned 27 this week, played five seasons in Pittsburgh, averaging 4.3 yards per carry and rushing for more than 1,200 yards three times. The 6-foot-1, 225-pounder from Michigan State – a second-round pick in 2013 – also is a gifted receiver, with three seasons of 70 or more catches.
As Carr knows, having a running back such as Bell would make the Raiders offense much more balanced in 2019. Obviously, he’d be a big fan of his team signing the two-time All-Pro. But that will be up to Gruden, GM Mike Mayock and owner Mark Davis.