Le’Veon Bell seems to be making it clear he’d like the Jets to trade him.And they should absolutely try to grant his wish.By now it’s clear that th
Le’Veon Bell seems to be making it clear he’d like the Jets to trade him.
And they should absolutely try to grant his wish.
By now it’s clear that this expensive Jets-Bell marriage is a disaster, and since there’s little chance it ends any way other than badly, the Jets might as well try to end it quickly. They clearly will never get the value they expected when they signed Bell to a four-year, $52.5 million contract before last season. So with no chance he’ll be back with them in 2021, it’s better for them to deal him now for whatever value they can get.
Unfortunately for the Jets, what they can likely get back is “not much,” according to one NFL source. The 28-year-old Bell is undoubtedly at the low point of his value. His production in 17 games as a Jet has been poor (863 yards on 3.3 yards per carry) and injuries have nagged him the entire way. Plus, he’ll still be due more than half his guaranteed $8.5 million salary at the deadline ($4.5 million).
That means the Jets would likely have to eat some of that money, and they’d likely be looking at only a Day 3 draft pick – possibly one very late on that third day.
But at this point they should take it, if anyone offers, because the Bell signing has not worked out. And Bell has clearly reached the boiling point after he touched the ball only 14 times in his return from injured reserve on Sunday and was targeted only once in the passing game. He refused to speak with the media after the Jets’ 30-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, but he later “liked” two tweets saying the Jets should trade him and three others questioning how he was being used by Adam Gase.
That passive-aggressive message follows his summer spat with Gase, after the coach said Bell was pulled from a scrimmage with an injured hamstring and the running back disagreed. And of course all of this is happening in the shadow of the fact that Gase never wanted to spend all that money on Bell in the first place. Former Jets GM Mike Maccagnan was the one who pursued this deal.
The Jets did consider trading Bell at the deadline last October, according to a team source. Several teams called, but none were offering much, the source said. Despite speculation that they’d revisit a deal during the offseason, Jets sources maintained that was never likely, that they were committed to trying to make this work.
But it obviously hasn’t, and probably won’t. Bell has just 74 rushing yards on 19 carries and three catches for 39 yards in what amounts to a game and a half this year, giving him 1,363 total yards (863 rushing, 500 receiving) in his 17-game Jets career. He’s fast approaching 30 now and seemingly not the player he was before his year-long holdout in a contract dispute with the Pittsburgh Steelers. And in a lost season, with the Jets 0-5 and probably heading for a coaching change, it makes little sense for the Jets to stick with Bell and 37-year-old Frank Gore, while rookie La’Mical Perine – a fourth-rounder who had zero offensive snaps on Sunday – remains glued to the bench.
Gase is surely more interested in getting wins now, rather than worrying about building something for the future, but it’s not like Bell is helping him win anyway. Most people who know Gase believe he prefers the running back-by-committee approach. He could do that with Gore, Perine and maybe recently acquired running back Ty Johnson, too.
Besides, there’s a chance that Bell’s Twitter “likes” are only the beginning. Though he has been a model teammate and team player for the most part, according to several team sources, his frustration does seem to be reaching a boiling point. And as the Jets learned with the Jamal Adams mess last season, a spat with a star player doesn’t help anyone in the middle of a losing year.
So why wait until the offseason, when the Jets surely will let Bell go – since it would save them $9.4 million in cap space and cost only $4 million in dead money? Better to do it now, even if the price is low.