Le’Veon Bell Jets: Roster Outlook for New York Offense

Getty Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after rushing for an 8 yard touchdown in the fourth quarter during the AFC Divisional Playoff game.

The Le’Veon Bell saga is close to being over. The former Pittsburgh Steeler will sign with the New York Jets, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. It is a confirmed 4-year, $52 million contract.

This ends the speculation for the 6-foot-1, 225-pounder, which included rumors that he’d go to Baltimore or Oakland, among other destinations. Our own Jonathan Adams compiled the rumors pointing towards the Ravens earlier today, but left open the possibility he’d don the green and white.

The Baltimore Ravens are believed to be “in the mix” for Le’Veon Bell, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Rapoport reported that the Jets and Ravens are the two teams most closely associated with Bell. The Jets reportedly have given Bell a deadline to make a decision so they can have clarity on their salary cap situation.

Steven Ruiz of For The Win narrowed down the Jets and Raiders as the potential landing spots.

That leaves the Jets and Raiders. Jon Gruden has money to spend, but if he’s not willing to go over market value for a player like Khalil Mack, should we really expect him to bust out the checkbook for a running back? It’s very possible that the Jets will be bidding against themselves for the right to sign Bell, which could drive his price down considerably. He might struggle to get a deal comparable to the Steelers’ five-year, $66 million offer he reportedly turned down.

This signing relegates 25-year old Isaiah Crowell to second-string. The youngster did what he could on a dreadful offense last year, notching 683 yards and 6 scores. He signed a 3-year, $12 million contract in 2018.

Let’s take a look at how that offense looks with its latest high-profile addition.

Latest Offensive Outlook for Jets Offense

New York sputtered to a No. 29 finish last year in total yardage, and produced just 20.8 points per game. This includes a No. 26 showing in rushing yardage, which mustered just 101 yards per game.

Bell surely adds a burly back that can drive for extra yardage, but that doesn’t fix the offensive line. Center Jonotthan Harrison is the centerpiece of the line, but is a “fall back option” according to Jets Wire.

It’s safe to say Harrison probably won’t become the next Nick Mangold or Kevin Mawae, so keeping him for any other reason than depth doesn’t make sense. Even then, if the Jets bring in a younger player they’d like to develop into a starter in the future, Harrison’s presence could hinder that development.

Meanwhile, there’s a gaping hole at left guard now that James Carpenter is an Atlanta Falcon.

The Jets will need to address this in this April’s draft. Also, new head coach Adam Gase will have to put pressure off of Bell by developing second-year quarterback Sam Darnold.

The former USC Trojan suffered growing pains in his debut season, completing just 57 percent of his passes for 2,865 yards, 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He doesn’t quite have the receiving corps at the moment either to expect much improvement.

Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa together produce at the level of just one pretty good receiver. They combined to accumulate 88 catches for 1,201 receiving yards last fall.

Bell will help on the ground, but there’s a lot more heavy lifting to do by the Jets management.