The Eagles might be a "sleeper" candidate to acquire Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell in a mid-season trade, which means it's unlikely. In 2019, on the other hand, all bets are off.
At least Bell seems to think the Eagles would be in position to pursue his services this coming offseason. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the three-time Pro Bowler listed Philadelphia as a plausible landing spot in free agency.
Bell believes the Jets, 49ers, Colts, Browns and Eagles would be among teams interested in his services on the free-agent market. He'd want to go to a team that values his skill set and winning.
"I know the guaranteed money will be there [in March]," Bell said. "If a team wanted to, they could definitely do what they needed to do to make me happy and satisfied."
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As we examined last week, it's difficult to envision the Eagles making a swap for Bell now. Such a move would require investing draft capital and precious salary cap space that can be rolled into next season, at a position of strength when Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement and Darren Sproles are all healthy.
But once Bell hits the open market, that might be another story. Ajayi and Sproles (who will turn 36) are free agents. And while contract extensions for Carson Wentz and presumably Jordan Hicks will cost the Eagles, new deals for Brandon Graham or Ronald Darby are less certain, while more money can be freed up by parting ways with Nick Foles, Jason Peters, Chris Long and Tim Jernigan, to name a few.
In other words, the Eagles should have far more flexibility in terms of both the depth chart and financially in '19 – and as far as the latter is concerned, never doubt Howie Roseman's cap wizardry.
The Eagles have emerged as unexpected favorites for expensive free agents in the past, most recently Alshon Jeffery, when it seemed the price was prohibitive. Why not Bell?
Splurging on a running back would be nothing new for the Eagles, either. Roseman was general manager when LeSean McCoy signed a five-year extension worth $45 in 2011.
Bell in an Eagles uniform is not at all implausible. The Jets, Browns, Colts and 49ers will all be in position to offer more money based on their current cap situations. Yet, if winning is truly part of the equation, Philadelphia may hold an advantage – of course, that remains to be seen to some extent.
There's far too much to sort through to make an educated prediction in October. The Eagles are off to a 2-2 start, though even if this season goes sour, they still have Wentz and will be only a year removed from the Super Bowl. And the contract status of many current players could change between now and March.
That being said, if the Eagles have a legitimate shot at Bell – a dynamic, three-down, all-purpose back with at least 1,884 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns in three of the four seasons – you better believe they're going to explore it.