It’s only Monday, and it’s already been a busy week for the Raiders.
After acquiring star wide receiver Antonio Brown and trading former All-Pro guard Kelechi Osemele over the weekend, now Oakland enters what could be a busy first week of free agency.
One of Brown’s former Pittsburgh teammates, running back Le’Veon Bell, could be next up on the Raiders’ to-do list.
Like Brown, Bell had his troubles with Steelers management. He decided to sit out all of the 2018 season in a pay dispute, and now he will be an unrestricted free agent. Certainly, there should be plenty of suitors for his services.
Bell is just 27 with a track record of excellence. In 2017 he was first-team All-Pro for the second time while carrying a league-high 321 times for 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns. The 6-foot-1, 225-pounder from Michigan State also had big years in 2014 (1,361 yards) and 2016 (1,268) as a ballcarrier, and has proven to be an excellent receiver, too, with three seasons of 75 or more catches. In 2014 he had 83 catches for 854 yards, and he had 85 catches for 655 yards in 2017.
The Jets and 49ers reportedly are interested in Bell, but Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported Monday that the Raiders may be “a sleeper team” in the Bell derby.
Wrote Kevin Patra of NFL.com: “Oakland landing Bell would be a massive boon for an offense that desperately needs playmakers all over the field. Reuniting Bell and Antonio Brown could completely morph a Raiders offense that owned one of the worst collection of skill-position talent at the end of last season. If Derek Carr remains the franchise quarterback, as the organization has publicly expressed, providing him with playmakers like Bell is a must next season.”