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5 Alternative Players the Ravens Could Add Instead of Le’Veon Bell

February 11, 2019 - 10:38 pm
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By Joe Schiller

On Friday, Le’Veon Bell made waves on social media.

The two-time All-Pro running back responded to video on Twitter of NFL Network’s Kay Adams suggesting she’d want to see Bell in a Ravens uniform this season.

The response, as expected, got plenty of attention.

With a rookie quarterback in Lamar Jackson and cap flexibility the Ravens have seldom had, adding a talented pass-catching running back makes sense. The position ranks among the top needs despite averaging 152.6 rushing yards per game during the 2018 regular season – the second most in the NFL.

But given Bell’s likely asking price and concerns about his attitude, it seems more like a pipedream than a possibility at this point.

The Ravens might make a run at Bell but they’ll be outmatched by other teams who have more money to offer. Plus, with other needs on the offensive side of the ball, it’s a lot to commit that much capital to a 26-year-old running back with tread on the tires.

Here are five alternative and more realistic options the Ravens could consider besides Bell.

 

Tevin Coleman

In his fourth season, Coleman was impressive filling in for an injured Devonta Freeman. He showed flashes of No. 1 back potential, totaling a career high 1,076 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns.

While not as bulky as Kenneth Dixon or Gus Edwards, at 6-1, 210 pounds, Coleman still is elusive. He's not going to kill teams between the tackles but would serve as a nice compliment in the short passing game and in scenarios where the Ravens aren't looking grind yards. 


Mark Ingram

Three years older than Bell, Mark Ingram doesn’t win the age argument but he’s still a talented running back the Ravens could consider. He totaled back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons in 2016 and 2017 before missing the first four games of last season due to a suspension.

Ingram is an established passing-catching threat out of the backfield and could ultimately double as a veteran leader in the locker room for Alex Collins, Dixon and Edwards.

 

Spencer Ware

Similar to Coleman, Ware’s been the primary No. 2 in Kansas City throughout four years. That changed with Kareem Hunt’s departure but Patrick Mahomes found success with Damian Williams and Darrel Williams late in the season and into the postseason.

Ware is an intriguing player and has shown the ability to produce when given starting reps. He totaled 1,368 scrimmage yards and five touchdowns in 14 starts during the 2016 season. Playing in an offense under Andy Reid that's schemed completely different than what Greg Roman wants to do, Ware would still be a receiving threat. However, the transition might not be as seamless. 

 

T.J. Yeldon

Leonard Fournette has appeared to make amends with the Jaguars’ front office and Carlos Hyde is under contract with the team through the 2020 season. That leaves T.J. Yeldon as the odd back out.

Yeldon’s production has taken a hit since Leonard’s arrival in  2017. It may have been the banged up offensive line or lack of scheme, but Yeldon struggled with 145 total rushing yards and 270 receiving yards in five games as the starter while Leonard was injured. 

Still, the Alabama product serves as a dual threat that could come on a cheap price tag for the Ravens. 

 

Duke Johnson

Johnson is the only player on this list that’s not an impending unrestricted free agent. But with the success of Nick Chubb and the recent signing of Kareem Hunt, Johnson becomes expendable as the presumable No. 3 running back on the depth chart.

Johnson saw career lows in rushing (201) and receiving (429) yards last season. He was virtually non-existent with Hue Jackson calling the plays but saw a boost when Freddie Kitchens took over and Baker Mayfield began to find his rhythm. 

This is a trade I’d like to see the Ravens explore as Johnson is the prime example of a pass-catching running back. He’s got strong hands along with the speed and agility to be a legitimate threat as a receiver – something the Ravens have seen first-hand.