2. It has to be a one-year contract
We had a debate about this over on the Bolt Beat Slack channel, with some Bolt Beat contributors believing that Bell would be a solid addition on a 2-3 year deal. The hypothetical propsed number was 2-3 years for $10-15 million, which is probably a reasonable price for the Bell at this point.
If he is getting that kind of offer from other teams and that is what it takes to sign him then you can count the Chargers out. It is bad roster building to sign Bell to a multi-year deal when the team is already paying Austin Ekeler.
First of all, Bell turns 29 in February. Running backs historically age very quickly and there is a good chance that Bell regresses fairly quickly with how many miles are on his legs this early in his career.
Second of all, the team is already paying Austin Ekeler. Ekeler is making $5.75 million next season — paying a combined $10.75 million for a running back tandem in 2020 just is not the way to build a roster. They would be paying a guy $5 million to play 40 percent of the snaps when there are far more questions on the salary cap.
The Chargers have to figure out whether or not they are re-signing Melvin Ingram, Hunter Henry, Desmond King, Virgil Green (or find a new Virgil Green), Dan Feeney, Sam Tevi, Forrest Lamp, Denzel Perryman, Nick Vigil, Michael Davis and Rayshawn Jenkins.
Not all of those guys are going to come back but some have to as they cannot all be replaced in the draft. Right now, according to Spotrac, the Chargers have just $33 million in cap space to figure all of those replacements out and pay for the incoming draft class.
Every dollar adds up and spending 15% on the remaining cap for a running back to be an RB2 is far more harmful than it is helpful. Plus, Justin Jackson has one more year under contract and Kelley has three.
They have two young running backs behind Austin Ekeler already that are under contract next season.
Bell would be a great one-year rental to help this LA Chargers offense and hopefully give the team a shot in the arm. Any longer than that and he will simply turn into a net-negative because of his contract.