Early Tuesday morning, the New York Jets agreed to a historic deal with the Ravens’ top free-agent target, inside linebacker C.J. Mosley. Less than 24 hours later, they locked down the dream free agent of Ravens fans (and some players, too).
Running back Le’Veon Bell will sign a four-year, $52.5 million deal with the Jets when free agency officially starts at 4 p.m. Wednesday, according to multiple media reports. The contract is worth up to $61 million and includes $35 million guaranteed, according to ESPN.
The Ravens reportedly were under consideration, though some accounts disputed the seriousness of their bid. NFL Network reported Tuesday afternoon that the Ravens were "still in it" for Bell despite an inferior offer. But according to a CBS Sports update early Wednesday morning, the team was "never involved" with the three-time Pro Bowl selection.
The Ravens have been strongly linked to former New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram, who could be the team’s first acquisition of the offseason. But Bell, 27, had been atop the wish list for many in Baltimore, the possibility of an intra-division relocation stoked by social media flirtations.
Last month, after an NFL Network segment suggested that Bell consider the Ravens, the former Pittsburgh Steelers star noticed quarterback Lamar Jackson had started following him on Instagram. Bell posted an ambiguous message relating to Jackson's Instagram handle, and hope was reborn.
On Sunday, before the legal-tampering window opened, former NFL defensive lineman-linebacker and current “American Ninja Warrior” host Akbar Gbaja-Biamila hinted that Bell was Baltimore bound.
The social media breadcrumbs continued to fall. Ravens safety Tony Jefferson joked to Bell on Twitter that he should pick up if he received a phone call with a 443 area code. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey told Bell he should play “that yellow and black team two times a year.” A since-deleted fake Twitter account purporting to be Gbajabiamila even saw a message reporting that Bell had signed with the Ravens go viral (briefly).
Ultimately, it was not to be. The “competition” that Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he would bring to the team’s backfield will not include Bell.
They will see him in Baltimore this season, though. Again. This time, in green and white.