Apparently, the New York Jets no longer have any use for their star running back Le’Veon Bell. Or do they? With the NFL’s trade deadline approaching Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported that the Jets are actively shopping Bell.
The Jets signed Bell to a very hefty contract this offseason – a four-year, $52.2 million deal with $35 million guaranteed, and he has only played seven games with the team.
While Bell will come with a major price tag, there are several teams who could stand to benefit from his services. Considering the fact that Bell is a dual-threat and a major offensive weapon, it seems odd that offensive-minded Jets coach Adam Gase can’t seem to find a good and effective use for him.
So far in the 2019 season, Bell has averaged just 3.2 yards per carry, while scoring one touchdown. Bell also fumbled once. Despite his slow start to the season, Bell remains an elusive threat, and he is one of the league’s more difficult backs to bring down.
Clearly, Bell is still a very valuable player, and there are likely several teams who are more than interested in his services. According to Spotrac, Bell has $1 million guaranteed on his contract this year, along with a fully-guaranteed $8.5 million base salary and a $4.5 million roster bonus in 2020. It’s likely the Jets will have to take on some of that money if a trade should occur.
Despite the cash involved, there are several possible landing spots for the talented rusher. Here are five teams who could be potentially great fits for Bell.
Los Angeles Chargers
With the recent (and rather unsuccessful) holdout of running back Melvin Gordon, coupled with his early struggles, some analysts and fans are suggesting a Bell for Gordon swap:
Gordon’s numbers so far on the season have been lukewarm at best. On 44 rushing attempts, he has gained 112 yards (2.5 yards average) and a touchdown. Swapping Bell for Gordon would give Philip Rivers an explosive new weapon, and it would give Bell the change of scenery he may desperately need right now.
New England Patriots
The New England Patriots are generally involved in every major trade conversation due to the fact that they have loads of draft capital and room to negotiate with other teams. And while they have Sony Michel and James White, a weapon like Bell could send the Pats offense into the stratosphere.
The Jets may not want to trade Bell to a division rival, but if the price is right, they absolutely could consider it, especially for a few decent draft picks. Whether or not this is a realistic option remains to be seen.
The Lions may be the most interesting potential fit for Bell. The team has seen a bit of a resurgence this season despite a 3-3-1 record, and Matthew Stafford could benefit in a big way from having a dual-threat like Bell in the backfield. Kerryon Johnson is a talented and serviceable back, but he’s not in the same league talent-wise as Bell. This could be a move that shakes up the NFC North.
Kansas City Chiefs
Andy Reid loves running backs that are both threats in the backfield while also being deadly route runners and pass catchers. Bell is all of these things, and the thought of a Patrick Mahomes-Le’veon Bell combination is a scary one for opposing defenses.
With a weapon like Bell, Mahomes could look even better than he already has–and that’s saying something. The Chiefs also absolutely have the draft picks and available money to make this happen. Right now, they’re a favorite to go out and get Bell.
Another scary combination? Deshaun Watson with Le’Veon Bell in his backfield. After losing J.J. Watt for the season, the Houston Texans could use a big boost–and trading for Bell would instantly make the Texans offense scarier than it already is.
Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson have been just fine, but their skill sets don’t quite match Bell’s. The idea of adding the Jets running back to an already loaded offense headlined by Watson and wideout DeAndre Hopkins has to be appealing.
We’ll keep you updated on Bell’s status as the trade deadline approaches.