This is the first player review we'll be doing over the next couple of weeks (unless the lockout ends) on free agents who were on the Cleveland Browns last season. I will try to stick with a common format for each one -- brief overviews on how and when the player came to the team, what their production was like, why we could be interested in re-signing them, what we should do, and finally an open poll from the DBN community.
RB Mike Bell
Only kidding, although that is what I felt when this guy carried the football at times last season.
How and When He Joined the Browns: Beloved running back Jerome Harrison fell out of favor with former head coach Eric Mangini during the 2010 season. Bell was the new backup to LeSean McCoy in Philadelphia. The Eagles had signed him after he had filled in well for the Super Bowl winning Saints in 2009. He was pretty much a disaster for Philly, having 16 carries for 28 yards in 5 games. The trade got an "unhappy" Harrison out of Cleveland, and brought a "backup bruiser" in to deliver blows whenever Peyton Hillis had to leave the game.
Productivity Level Last Season: Things didn't get much better in Cleveland for Bell, as he had 31 carries for 71 yards over a span of several games. It seemed like Hillis would be doing very well on a drive, would need a breather, and then Bell would come in for a maximum gain of one yard. He was a tiny bit better in his final two games of the season and actually started gaining around 3 yards per carry. When that is considered an achievement for a guy, it's pretty safe to say Bell was terrible during the 2010 campaign.
Why Keeping Him Could Make Sense: It all depends on your perceived value for Bell. Last year, the issue after getting rid of Harrison and James Davis was that there were only two running backs on the roster. Right now, that is still the case -- we have Hillis and an uncertain Montario Hardesty. Why get rid of a running back who was already on the roster last year and could probably be brought back for cheap?
What the Browns Should Do: To echo what I first said, "No. Next?" We're moving to a West Coast Offense, and historically, Bell has not been a threat out of the backfield. He had trouble finding holes last season; I could easily tell the difference in first decisions between Hillis and Bell when rewatching game tapes. We do need another running back on the roster (not counting the fullbacks), but I'd say we need a faster, change-of-pace-back.
Now it's your turn -- vote in the poll below on whether or not the team should try to re-sign Mike Bell!