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Why Le’Veon Bell cannot play with the Chiefs in Week 6

The Chiefs have boosted their running back depth in a huge way. However, the NFL’s Covid-19 protocols means we won’t see Bell on the field until Week 7.

Le’Veon Bell #26 of the New York Jets runs drills at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on August 23, 2020 in Florham Park, New Jersey. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs are signing running back Le’Veon Bell to a one-year contract, according to multiple reports. Bell was considering the Dolphins and Bills before making this decision. There was some chatter Bell was going to sign with the Chiefs prior to this, but some late posturing from the Bills and Dolphins slowed the process.

Bell joins a Chiefs team that already has impressive rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the starting lineup, and Darrel Williams, Darwin Thompson, and DeAndre Washington as backups. Andy Reid is a play-calling genius, particularly when it comes to pass-catching running backs. Adding Bell to that backfield makes arguably the best offense in the league that much better.

However, we won’t see until Week 7 what this signing has wrought. Even if Bell was 100 percent ready for Monday on short notice, the NFL’s Covid-19 testing protocol for new roster additions will keep him sidelined. Last week following the Tennessee Titans Covid-19 outbreak, the NFL beefed up the various protocols, including when signed free agents can join a team, per the Washington Post. A free agent is not allowed to enter a team’s facility until Day 6 after their initial arrival. They must have negative Covid-19 tests for five straight days and a point-of-care test on Day 6 before they will be allowed entry.

That means Clyde Edwards-Helaire gets is normal workload for one more week, and then we see how this situation develops. This downgrades Edwards-Helaire’s fantasy value once Bell takes the field, but it’s too early to tell how much. And we don’t know yet how much work Bell will get, and in turn if it will justify starting him on any kind of regular basis.

All we know for sure is Bell will not be playing on Monday against the Buffalo Bills.