The New York Jets have a plethora of talent present for the start of optional Organized Team Activities. However, the topic of conversation to start OTAs is about the star running back who isn’t.
Le’Veon Bell, the New York Jets prized acquisition of the off-season, has stayed under the radar since his signing. Bell instead chose to train privately before mandatory training camp.
This decision has left the head coach and interim general manager Adam Gase to answer questions about Bell’s absence, his desire to sign Bell back in March and about piecing together a new-look Jets team as a whole.
“We signed him; I’m excited we have him,” Gase said on Thursday. “I’ve been in constant communication with him.”
Bell backed his coach’s comments on his talent and character over Twitter.
A rift in East Rutherford
There have been rumors swirling in the media that former GM Mike Maccagnan was fired due to him and Gase disagreeing over the price for Bell’s services.
Maccagnan wanted to make a big splash in free agency and Gase, on the other hand, wanted to save money. Gase’s plans for the offseason included a more cost-effective move at the running back position. Gase cited the Jets’ need to sign, draft and build a complete squad in order to be potential Super Bowl contenders.
“We signed a lot of guys,” he said. “You’re trying to put together a big puzzle.”
Gase won the front office power struggle over Maccagnan, as the Jets GM was shown the door by owner Christopher Johnson on May 15. Gase was made GM in the interim, as the Jets now look for a replacement while the other 31 NFL teams are worried solely about OTAs.
Adam Gase said the Jets are in “the beginning stages” of their GM search. He said “we” a lot, but added “really it’s Christopher Johnson’s decision.” pic.twitter.com/mHLOkTjXCV
— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) May 23, 2019
Gase took advantage of his new power by trading linebacker Darron Lee to the Kansas City Chiefs the same night he got the GM job. The Jets received a 2019 6th round pick in the trade.
Lee was the odd man out in the linebacker corps after the Jets signed C.J. Mosley to a contract worth $17 million annually. Gase was against spending top-dollar on the running back position, but he was willing to break the bank for Mosley.
Mosley was Gase’s top target to start free agency.
Gase also addressed the Darron Lee trade. He said the KC offer had been on the table for some time, that he just pulled the trigger. He said it was decided to trade Lee before he arrived. #Jets
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) May 23, 2019