Le'Veon Bell left the worst possible situation in professional football when the failing New York Jets released the 28-year-old running back only to find balance in the universe by agreeing to sign with the league's best-run organization in the Kansas City Chiefs.
According to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer, Bell agreed to an incentive-laden, one-year deal Thursday to join an already explosive Chiefs offense.
An unlikely source best described the possibility before it became inevitable.
"If Le'Veon Bell goes to the Chiefs, we might as well send them the Lombardi Trophy. As a viable threat from the backfield and slot as a receiver, this signing is similar to Thanos getting the last Infinity Stone," former NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson tweeted.
The endgame has begun since the Chiefs have collected all of the stones necessary to dominate the league once again.
As Thanos aptly stated, "I know what it's like to lose. To feel so desperately that you're right, yet to fail nonetheless. ... Dread it. Run from it. Destiny arrives all the same. And now it's here—or should I say, I am."
The iconic quote describes Bell's trials and tribulations so well. Once considered the best back in football, the three-time Pro Bowl ball-carrier warred with the Pittsburgh Steelers front office over his perceived value only to sit out a season before entering free agency. Ultimately, he signed a deal comparable to the one the Steelers originally offered but with the New York Jets.
In this ongoing analogy, the Jets' Adam Gase serves as Gamora, because the coach wanted nothing to do with the supposed savior (though the comparison starts to crumble—like those who turned to ash after the snap—beyond a surface-level glance at their overall relationship).
The pairing was doomed from the start. As the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta reported in May of last year, the head coach didn't want to make a free-agent splash at running back. He didn't see the value of signing Bell.
"For whatever reason, it didn't work out," Gase told reporters Wednesday after the Jets released Bell less than two years into a four-year contract with $27 million guaranteed. "We're going to have to... our team (is) moving forward to Miami. That’s the No. 1 concern for us right now."
The reason is rather simple and it rhymes with space. But Gase did make a solid point: Whatever happened between the two is irrelevant at this juncture. New York is the league's worst team and poor decisions are par for the course.
What is relevant is the parting shouldn't be viewed as an indictment of Bell's potential to contribute with another offense despite an underwhelming 17 games with Gang Green. He should be utilized far more effectively at his new stop.
The Chiefs are the Super Bowl champions and run by arguably the league's best brain trust (outside of the New England area) in head coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach. They'll immediately know how to utilize Bell in an already dynamic offense led by the game's best quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, who was quite happy about the announcement.
Mahomes should be jubilant with another versatile weapon added to an already potent group of skill-position performances.
In order to better understand why Bell is an ideal fit in Kansas City, one must go back to the root of his squabbles with the Steelers organization. The running back and his representation didn't view him as just a running back. For a significant stretch, Bell served as Pittsburgh's second-best threat in the passing game. He's a hybrid capable of carrying the ball 300 times per year—which isn't necessary for Kansas City, but he can shoulder a heavy load—or serve as slot receiver or pass protector. He can line up in the backfield, on the wing, in the slot or out wide.
When healthy and placed in a position to succeed, Bell is one of the league's most well-rounded backs.
His versatility will make the veteran an ideal complement to both Mahomes and rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
"Obviously a tremendous player, someone that can do it all—catch the ball, run the ball," Mahomes told reporters of Bell before the signing. "Whoever is in this locker room, we make sure they're ready to go and make plays."
Statistically, the Chiefs offense currently produces more yardage per contest and more yards per carry than it did a year ago. Even so, the organization would like to take some of the burden off Mahomes, who is too often asked to make something out of nothing.
"We've got to go back and look at ourselves in the mirror—me at quarterback—and really not rely on these crazy plays where I’m scrambling around and throwing these shots," Mahomes told reporters after Sunday's 40-32 loss to the rival Las Vegas Raiders. "And just execute the offense the way that it's called and the way it’s supposed to be ran."
Kansas City's quarterback is the best the NFL has ever seen at creating outside of the offensive structure, making plays and completing throws that shouldn't even be humanly possible. It's great to have a superhero behind center. Sometimes, a team needs a simple triggerman in place to consistently deliver pinpoint passes.
In order for Mahomes to be more of a Hawkeye and veer away from the incredible, he needs help from his supporting cast. It starts up front, where the Chiefs know they have to be better after a porous performance. But the playmakers must be fully utilized while adding yet another arrow to Mahomes' quiver.
Remember, Kansas City expected to have a fully stocked backfield this fall only to see Damien Williams opt out because of the ongoing global pandemic. Edwards-Helaire played well as a lead back so far. This year's 32nd overall draft pick leads all rookies with 344 rushing yards and ranks second with 513 yards from scrimmage.
Bell brings a different skill set as a patient between-the-tackles runner. He's also an experienced voice in the running back room. The eight-year veteran can pick up some of the slack when the Chiefs have injuries elsewhere as they currently do with Sammy Watkins nursing a hamstring injury.
Once Bell is up to speed and Watkins is fully healthy, Kansas City's arsenal—which include Edwards-Helaire, tight end Travis Kelce and wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman—will make the unit a cosmic force of reckoning with yet another Super Bowl run in the franchise's sights.
To paraphrase the Mad Titan, "With all six stones, Mahomes can simply snap his fingers and defenses would all cease to exist. He calls that mercy."