In a somewhat surprising turn of events, the Cleveland Browns have traded running back Jerome Harrison to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for running back Mike Bell. You don't just swap running backs with a team because one team is getting the better player at the position; this sounds like a case of the Eagles taking a disgruntled back off of our hands in exchange for someone who won't be disgruntled.
If you know me and my history with Harrison, then you probably guessed that I was a little bummed out by this news. I hope Harrison can have some success in Philadelphia, but the emergence of Peyton Hillis this season has made it a little easier to let him go. This also goes along with the team not having long-term plans for Harrison; they never signed him to a new contract, and they drafted Montario Hardesty in the second round of this year's draft.
Earlier, I mentioned that this sounded like a case of the Browns moving a disgruntled back for a non-disgruntled back. However, that doesn't mean we're getting the same type of running back.
Bell, like Hillis, has been known as a power back since coming to the NFL. He isn't a shifty type of runner, and he doesn't catch passes out of the backfield. To prove he doesn't catch passes, consider this: he played for the New Orleans Saints last year and had 172 carries vs. just 4 receptions! If that's not a clear disparity, then I don't know what is.
Bell was signed by the Eagles in the offseason, but like Harrison, he hasn't done much in a backup role this year. On the season, he has 16 carries for 28 yards.
Eric Mangini seemed to like the attitude and work ethic of James Davis this offseason, so it's tough to project who will become the No. 2 running back on the depth chart. I'm actually more surprised the Browns didn't just re-sign Chris Jennings, who played okay with the Browns last year and seemed to be liked by Mangini.