Odds of trading Le’Veon Bell to the Eagles dramatically improved on Monday While the chances of the Pittsburgh Steelers trading Le’Veon Bell before the October 30 deadline always seemed unlikely Mark Barron Jersey
, circumstances may have changed enough over the past 48 hours or so to make that dream a reality in 2018. With Le’Veon Bell suggesting he would return to Pittsburgh in Week 7, there is a possibility a window will open to get a deal done in time and a trade partner might be starting to emerge who could be crazy enough to agree to it.Hours after it had been announced that the Philadelphia Eagles had placed running back Jay Ajayi on injured reserve with an ACL injury, it was also reported that they had restructured the contract of defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. Having created an additional $6.5 million in salary cap space with this move, the Eagles are now in a position to absorb Bell’s remaining contract when this figure is added to the $4 million in cap room they already had available.However, for those of you already packaging Bell up to send on his way, Adam Schefter of ESPN suggests you slow your roll.That being said, this report runs contrary to several from Jason La Canfora of CBS, who has written a number of articles in the past few weeks suggesting significant interest from Philadelphia in Bell.Should the Steelers’ star running back return at some point in Week 7, he would first need to sign his franchise tag, a move that would fix one of the stumbling block of facilitating a trade. Bell would still need to agree to being traded, but an incentive would be the possibility to earn an extra paycheck in 2018 and play in one less game, with the Eagles set to have a their bye in Week 9. A prospect that would surely be appealing to him.At first, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network was the one pushing the speculative rumors about Pittsburgh’s interest in trading Bell Javon Hargrave Jersey
, but it is interesting to note he has cooled somewhat on the idea as of late. Rapoport’s latest “update” on Sunday morning implied the Steelers’ absentee back had no interest in being traded after all, even if he didn’t strictly rule it out.After sending a fourth round draft pick to the Miami Dolphins for Ajayi in 2017, a player who is out of contract at the end of this season, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the Eagles could decide to do a similar thing this year. An indifferent start to the season for the defending Super Bowl champions, thanks in part to a struggling rushing attack, could make Bell seem like an obvious short term fix. For an organization that appears to have little regard for the value of draft picks, burning another one on an elite running back might not be the worst decision they have ever made either.When Bell is still on the Steelers’ roster come November, the lesson to be learned here will be to never listen to wild rumors from the national media that you always thought sounded ridiculous, even if you did secretly hope they would turn out to be true. When you follow a football team for as long as I have the Steelers—39 years and counting (certainly not trying to impress with my fan “credentials”)—you get a sense of where it is at at any given time during the season. Of course, you didn’t need 39 years of following a team to know Pittsburgh was in a sweet little spot as it traveled to Baltimore to take on the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday. Winners of three straight, the Steelers didn’t just right the ship after their 1-2-1 start, they looked very impressive in doing so—and on both sides of the ball, for good measure. Yeah Jon Bostic Jersey
, sure, but the Ravens were the team that came into Heinz Field just five weeks earlier and handed Pittsburgh its third non-win in four games with a very methodical 26-14 road win on Sunday Night Football. In football—in most sports, really—the match-up makes the match, so why would things be different this time around—even if the Steelers were rolling and the Ravens were reeling? Because, as I said just last week, a match-up also comes down to when the match is played, and the Steelers have figured some things out since that unfortunate performance on September 30. It showed in the Steelers’ balanced attack on offense that included 282 yards through the air and 113 on the ground. It showed on third and fourth downs, where Pittsburgh was a very impressive 11 of 17. It once again showed in the protection afforded to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was only sacked once all day—and that came at the end of the game when taking a sack was preferableto throwing an incomplete pass that would have left the Ravens with way more than the 44 seconds they had to try a last-gasp attempt to get downfield and tie the score.It showed in time of possession, where the Steelers’ kept its always suspect until further notice defense off the field for 36:29. Pittsburgh’s offensive attack may have started a little slow, with its first possession lasting six plays and resulting in zero points. But the next two possessions netted 21 plays, 136 yards and 14 points, which played a huge role in establishing a 14-6 halftime lead. As for the defensive effort Joe Haden Jersey
, while there may have been a few too many penalties—especially of the pass interference variety—it was all you could ask for, considering the Ravens only totaled 269 yards and foundthe end zone just once on the day. Keith Butler’s unit didn’t harassquarterback Joe Flacco the entire afternoon, but the pressure was consistent and played a big part in holding Baltimore to just four conversions on 13 attempts on third and fourth downs. Despite being slight road underdogs, to reiterate, you just had the sense the Steelers would take the action to Baltimore on Sunday and control things from beginning to end. And that’s exactly what happened. The victory improved the Steelers’ record to 5-2-1 on the year, while Baltimore dropped its third straight to fall to 4-5. The Steelers are now at the halfway point of their 2018 campaign, and while it’s still relatively early, they certainly look like the team destined to win the AFC North yet again.That all remains to be seen, of course, but the Steelers are clearly in a pretty sweet spot right now, and what they did to the Ravens on Sunday seemed pretty predictable at kickoff.