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Raiders Free Agency Rumors: Le’Veon Bell in Silver and Black?

With Jon Gruden taking over in Oakland the roster will most likely see a shakeup. The rumors floating around Raiders free agency would suggest a major shakeup.

Peter King of Sports Illustrated thinks Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell will become a free agent and that the Raiders would be in the hunt.

Bell played under the franchise tag for Pittsburgh last season, earning just over $12 million. The 25-year-old running back told ESPN earlier this month he would consider retiring or sitting out if the Steelers placed the franchise tag on him again.

"I hope it doesn't come to that, but I would definitely consider it," Bell said.

Another year with the franchise tag would see Bell earn $14.5 million for next season. 

If Bell does become a free agent the Raiders would have a shot at adding one of the best backs in football. He has surpassed 1,200 yards in each of the last two season, while scoring 15 rushing touchdowns in 27 games.  

But paying a running back $14 million or more might not fit into the Raiders current needs. Oakland had the highest paid offense in football last season, which is before before Derek Carr’s $125 million extension kicks in.

The Raiders have a much cheaper option at running back in Marshawn Lynch, who they can bring back for around $6 million.

Lynch, who had 114 fewer carries than Bell last season, had a higher yards per carry and just two fewer touchdowns than Bell.

If they added Bell, Lynch would likely not be back in Oakland next season; the Raiders can cut ties with Lynch at no cost, as he has no guarantees for 2018.

The Raiders are expected to improve the defense in the offseason. And signing Bell to a massive long-term contract could cost the Raiders a chance at spending money on defense.

--UPDATE--

Bell told Ian Rappaport of NFL Network that he thinks he and the Steelers will get something done. 

Tyler Bischoff hosts Coaches Corner on AM 720 KDWN Monday through Friday at 6:00 pm.