New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell returned to the lineup this past Sunday after missing three games with a hamstring injury. But his presence did nothing to lift New York’s moribund offense, and the winless Jets (0-5) were blown out by the Arizona Cardinals, 30-10.
After the game, Bell refused to speak with the media; no reason was given for him skipping out on his virtual press conference, though after the game he ‘liked’ a tweet suggesting that the Jets trade him to another team.
Well, the former Pittsburgh Steelers running back may get his wish, assuming the Jets can find another club willing to take on Bell’s bloated contract, which would cost his acquirer $6 million in salary (plus per-game roster bonuses) for the remainder of the 2020 season.
On Tuesday Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported that the Jets are actively trying to trade the disgruntled running back.
At least one other NFL reporter has indicated the same thing, with Albert Breer of SI.com telling us “it sounds like” the Jets are “willing to settle for a late pick and/or back-end player in return.”
That’s painfully little for a running back on a $52.5 million contract with $27 million guaranteed. The only saving grace for a potential acquirer is that the Jets have already paid out the lion’s share of Bell’s guaranteed money; moreover, there is no guaranteed money on the last two years of the contract, which runs through the end of the 2022 season.
Le’Veon Bell’s Career with the Jets, Steelers
On the other hand, it’s worth noting that Bell has scored only four touchdowns since he last played for the Steelers in 2017. In 17 games with the Jets he has rushed the ball 264 times for only 863 yards (3.3 yards per rush) with three TDs, plus 69 catches for 500 yards (7.2 yards per catch) and one touchdown.
That’s a precipitous drop from his time in Pittsburgh, where he had 1,229 carries for 5,336 yards (4.3 yards per rush) and 35 touchdowns, plus 312 catches for 2,660 yards (8.5 yards per catch) and seven touchdowns.
No doubt, part of that drop off can be attributed to the lack of offensive talent around him in New York, but being that Bell is now 28, one wonders if his best days are also behind him.
Le’Veon Bell’s ‘Ugly’ Training Camp
Consider that in late August, Brian Costello of the New York Post remarked on what he called an “ugly” training camp for Bell, and predicted that Adam Gase was “headed for distaster.”
Opining on Bell’s training camp practices, Costello related how “Bell has lacked explosiveness in practice, looks slow to hit holes and seems to now lack the vision that once made him arguably the best running back in football.”
That’s not all. He also said, “Anyone who has watched practice over the past two weeks would have Bell ranked third among the running backs with Frank Gore and rookie La’Mical Perine ahead of him if they were being honest.”
That’s alarming as can be considering that Perine is a rookie fourth-round pick and Gore is 37 years old and in his 16th NFL season, positively ancient for a running back.
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