New England Patriots

Sep 22, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches from the sideline as they take on the New York Jets in the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

By Ty Anderson,

The New England Patriots may be among those rumored to have interest in free agent running back Le’Veon Bell, but head coach Bill Belichick isn’t going to tell you a damn thing.

“Yeah, I wouldn’t be able to really talk about anybody that’s not a member of our team now,” Belichick said Thursday morning. “So, I’d have to pass on that one. Whatever I’ve said about Bell before on the record, I stand by that, for sure.”

But even though Belichick won’t tip his hand, there’s been no shortage of linkage between the Patriots and Bell. There was a Wednesday report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter that said that the Patriots and Jets talked about a potential Bell trade prior to his release, and the Patriots have been repeatedly mentioned as a potential landing spot since the 28-year-old’s release.

(One of the latest reports out there is suggesting that the Patriots have re-emerged in the Bell sweepstakes in an attempt to thwart the Dolphins’ plans to add him to their sluggish backfield.)

Given the Patriots’ backs already on the New England roster — Rex Burkhead, James White, and Damien Harris are currently on the roster while Sony Michel is on injured reserve — a Bell-to-Foxborough fit may seem a little strange.

But Belichick knows the importance of depth at every position, especially in these uncertain times, and with the Patriots set to enter the stretch-run of their 2020 season.

“I mean, you always want depth and you can’t have as much depth as you want at every position,” Belichick admitted. “You have to sacrifice something somewhere based on the roster size. There’s a balance there between the number of players that you have and the quality of players that you have. Sometimes you have, let’s call it, too many players because quality is there, and sometimes you don’t have enough players. What depth looks like on the board and what it looks like in August and what it looks like in October and November are sometimes two completely different things. Which players are actually able to get out there and play and perform versus some names on a board or on a chart is quite different.

“It’s something you have to constantly evaluate and stay on top of and plan for because you never know when you’re going to need players at every position, not just that one. So, Nick Caserio, Dave Ziegler and their staffs do a great job of staying on top of all the personnel throughout the league and kind of what our next potential options would be depending on what we were looking for at every position.”

A three-time Pro Bowler, Bell is on the market after totaling 863 rushing yards, 500 receiving yards, and four touchdowns in an ill-fitting 17-game run with the Jets.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.