The Baltimore Ravens are in desperate need of running back help after several injuries to the unit.
J.K. Dobbins going down with a season-ending injury in preseason action was enough to cause fans to panic.
Then came another season-ending ailment, this time to Justice Hill.
That leaves Gus Edwards and Ty’Son Williams as the two main backs on the roster.
Earlier this week reports came out about the Ravens working out some veteran backs with familiar names.
Tuesday brought word that Le’Veon Bell would be joining the Ravens, albeit on a practice squad deal.
— NFL (@NFL) September 7, 2021
It may not be what he wanted, but a job is a job.
Bell’s Role In Baltimore
A true third-string running back would be expected to spend some time on special teams.
Having lost RBs J.K. Dobbins and Justice Hall to season-ending injuries, the Ravens are signing veteran RB Le’Veon Bell to their practice squad, per source. He soon is likely to be added to the 53-man roster when ready.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 7, 2021
That may be why the Ravens are keeping Bell on the practice squad for now.
They can sign a different, younger third-string runner to get that special teams work while they gauge Bell’s abilities in practice.
The only risk here is that other teams can snag him from Baltimore’s unit.
However, the fact he only landed a practice squad deal seems to show there were no other real deals out there.
This is likely the best he was going to get.
So what is his role?
Well, for now it appears to be getting back into proper NFL shape before actually joining the 53-man roster.
Bell is now 29 years old and only had 328 total rushing yards in 2020 in his stints with the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs.
He joined Kansas City, but never really landed the true explosive role some may have thought he would get.
The Baltimore front office is basically buying a cheap lottery ticket and hoping it hits big.
If Bell can show flashes of his former self in the running and passing game, the Ravens will not miss a beat in terms of production from the backfield.
If he struggles, they can cut him loose for very little cost.
Everyone must remember that the entire offense still runs through Lamar Jackson and the fact Edwards is still the lead back is great news for the Ravens.
Bell can start his tenure, given he makes the roster, getting limited touches as the third back.
But it will still be the Jackson and Edwards show if everything goes according to plan this season.