Ravens: What the Le’Veon Bell release means for Baltimore

Ravens, Le'Veon Bell Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Ravens, Le'Veon Bell Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

The Baltimore Ravens made the somewhat surprising decision to release running back Le’Veon Bell on Tuesday. However, a closer look at the current state of the roster would show that it shouldn’t be all too surprising.

Signed by the Ravens just prior to Week 1, Bell was brought in as much-needed insurance following season-ending injuries to the likes of J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill.

Bell would start the season on the practice squad before being promoted full-time last month. The 29-year-old appeared in five total games rushing for 83 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries for an average of just 2.7 yards per carry.

He also added one catch for -1 yards on three targets and was more of an afterthought in the receiving game than most expected him to be.

Despite his lackluster numbers, Bell’s release comes at an interesting time for the Ravens. But there are good reasons for why they did it now.

Why did the Baltimore Ravens release Le’Veon Bell?

Bell’s release could be a direct indication that veteran Latavius Murray is set to return from injury in the near future. Murray has been sidelined with an ankle injury since exiting early in the team’s Week 6 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.

After missing a month of action, Murray’s return would certainly be welcomed by the Ravens. Although with Devonta Freeman playing well in recent weeks, there’s no guarantee that Murray would reassume his de facto RB1 role in the backfield.

But it’s not a given that Murray will be able to return in time for this Sunday’s game. If not, the Ravens would likely be forced to elevate undrafted rookie Nate McCrary from the practice squad.

McCrary has not appeared in a game this season but did impress in limited action this summer.

The Ravens also have Ty’Son Williams, a player who has been somewhat divisive this season. Despite finding early success, Williams has been entirely phased out of the offensive game plan even with Murray sidelined.

Perhaps Bell’s release could allow him to regain a role in the offense. It’s certainly likely if Murray isn’t able to play this Sunday.

Josina Anderson is also reporting that the Ravens are still hoping to bring Bell back on their practice squad at some point in the future.

His release frees up roughly $370K in cap space which might not seem like much, but given that the Ravens had just $668K in space prior to the roster move, that’s quite a sizable chunk of money.

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Le’Veon Bell’s release makes sense for multiple reasons, although it likely isn’t the news Bell likely wanted to receive this week.