Le’Veon Bell’s Future With Jets Remains In Doubt

Running Back’s First Season In New York Was Worst Of His career

Brandon Contes
February 19, 2020 - 3:14 pm

The future for Le’Veon Bell with the New York Jets appears to be shaky at best. Even if the 28-year old running back stays with Gang Green in 2020, it’s not because he’s valued by the team.

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After signing Bell to a four-year, $52.5 million contract, his first season with the Jets was far less than spectacular. Having the worst statistical year of his career, Bell gained just 789 yards on the ground while averaging just 3.2 yards per carry.

The Jets subpar offensive line didn’t do Bell any favors, neither did head coach Adam Gase who was regularly criticized for how he utilized his star running back. Recently, the Jets attempted to place blame on Bell for being out of shape. According to an ESPN report, the Jets believe Bell lost explosiveness due to weight gain.

New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell (26) rushes the ball against the Washington Redskins during the second half on Nov 17, 2019 at FedExField.
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

But a counter report by Manish Mehta of The Daily News says it’s just an attempt by the organization to bash the running back. Gase was never in favor of signing Bell and it was Mike Maccagnan who brought the running back in last year, not current general manager Joe Douglas.

There were concerns about Bell’s physical status after sitting out all of 2018. But according to Mehta, Bell showed up to training camp last season in great shape, never complained about injuries and had his most effective game in Week 15 which counters the Jets belief that he gained weight during the year. Conflicting reports also surrounded what type of teammate Bell has been for the Jets with WFAN's Boomer Esiason alluding to the back being late for meetings at times.

Douglas and the Jets listened to trade offers for Bell during the season, but the $13.5 million owed to him in guaranteed money during 2020 will make it difficult to find a suitor. Earlier this week, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said the Jets have not closed the door on trading Bell. If Mehta is correct that the Jets are attempting to bash the running back, it won’t do them any favors in boosting his value enough to find a willing trade partner. 

The Jets would likely have to eat a good chunk of Bell's $13.5 million guaranteed salary for 2020 if they want to move him out of New York, making it more likely the running back is on Gang Green's roster again this season.