Oakland Raiders: A few free agents to target, one to take a hard pass on

SANTA CLARA, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Head coach Jon Gruden of the Oakland Raiders looks on during warm ups prior to their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on November 1, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Head coach Jon Gruden of the Oakland Raiders looks on during warm ups prior to their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on November 1, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Oakland Raiders
PITTSBURGH, PA – JANUARY 14: Le’Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs with the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field on January 14, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Le’Veon Bell (RB)

You just have to believe that Gruden is salivating at the thought of Le’Veon Bell hitting the open market. After all, at six-foot-one, 225 pounds, Bell is the prototypical back to run Gruden’s offense. He’s big, strong, fast, powerful, and incredibly nimble and elusive for a man his size.

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  • Bell is also transformational. Because he’s such a threat to break one from anywhere on the field, defenses are kept on their toes and can’t fully commit to the run or the pass on any given play because if they do, they’re going to get burned.

    There really aren’t enough superlatives to describe Bell the player.

    But this is one free agent Gruden really should take a hard pass on. It’s sorely tempting, of course, given the amount of cap space they’re going to have, as well as the pressing need in the backfield given that Marshawn Lynch is likely done after this year.

    But Gruden should find the solution to the problem elsewhere and avoid Bell like the plague.

    The first reason of course, is the price tag that comes with him. While we don’t know an exact figure Bell is looking for, it was being rumored early on that he was looking for something close to $17 million a season. That’s a lot of money and probably more than Gruden should be willing to commit to a running back – even one as talented as Bell.

    The biggest reason Gruden should avoid Le’Veon Bell though, is simply for the fact that the man quit on his teammates this year. By complaining about the number of carries he gets – a conversation he probably should have had with his coaches in private – he showed that he’s not above putting himself before the team.

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    Yes, careers in the NFL are short and these guys have every right to maximize their value. But there are repercussions to actions in the NFL, just as there are in life. If he had a problem with how big his role in the offense was, he should have addressed it with the appropriate people. Because the way this is all coming off is a reallybad look and shows that he’s a Le’Veon guy first, a team guy second.

    And can you really trust a guy like that to be all in when you need him to be the most?

    Having a back like Bell in Gruden’s offense would be a tremendous get. But definitely not with all of the drama and baggage he brings with him. There’s already enough dysfunction in that Raiders locker room as it is. The last thing you want to see is Gruden add another potential cancer to the mix.