On Friday morning, ESPN’s Jeff Passan tweeted about how Bryce Harper, who reportedly agreed to sign a record-breaking 13-year, $330 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, “wants to recruit players to join him in Philly.” While one might have assumed that Passan was referring to other MLB players, new reports suggest that the former National League MVP already made an informal recruiting pitch to someone from a completely different sport — erstwhile Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell.
According to NBC Sports Philadelphia, Bell shared an Instagram Story on Friday where he gave a shout-out to Harper, congratulating him for his massive new contract. What stood out, however, was the direct message Harper supposedly sent Bell, which the 27-year-old running back featured toward the end of his Story.
“Aye come join! Let’s take this city by storm. Bring as many titles as we can to the greatest city in the world. Brotherly Love. #securethebag”
As recalled by Bleacher Report, Le’Veon Bell chose to sit out the entire 2018 NFL season after he and the Steelers were unable to agree on the terms of a long-term contract extension. With Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert recently confirming that the Steelers will not place the franchise or transition tag on Bell for the 2019 season, that will allow him to become an unrestricted free agent once the NFL’s new league year starts on March 13.
Le'Veon Bell to the Eagles? ???? pic.twitter.com/XbNnIW7pu1— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) March 1, 2019
While the Philadelphia Eagles have previously been listed as a potential destination for Bell once he hits free agency, the Super Bowl LII winners were just one of several teams ESPN mentioned in October as potential landing spots for the running back. At that time, the outlet wrote that Bell saw the Eagles, as well as the New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, Indianapolis Colts, and Cleveland Browns, as the teams that could be most interested in signing him as a free agent, though it was also noted that the three-time All-Pro selection would prioritize “a team that values his skill set and winning.”
“I know the guaranteed money will be there [in March],” Bell was quoted as saying. “If a team wanted to, they could definitely do what they needed to do to make me happy and satisfied.”
Bryce Harper’s apparent recruiting pitch to Le’Veon Bell may or may not significantly slant things in favor of the Eagles once NFL free agency kicks off, but as Yahoo Sports pointed out, the team might need to get creative if they want to sign him. With Philadelphia having recently extended defensive end Brandon Graham’s contract, 2019 salary cap projections show the Eagles only having approximately $6 million to spend on new players.