After signing Le’Veon Bell to a four-year $52.5 million contract in 2019 with $35 million guaranteed, the organization expected the production of a top 3 back in the NFL. In 2019 Bell ranked 24th in the NFL in rushing yards, and 46th in rushing touchdowns.
After testing out the trade market with Bell, the Jets had to go another route. The lack of production, in addition to the public criticism on social media by Bell of Head Coach Adam Gase, the New York Jets decided Bell was not worth the headache. This led to the Jets having to make the difficult decision to eat their losses and release Bell.
Not the Same Bell Ringing
In 2017, with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Le’Veon Bell rushed for 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns. He also caught 85 passes for an additional 655 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns in only 15 games. His first 17 games with the New York Jets saw Bell rush for 863 yards and three touchdowns, with 500 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown.
In 2018, Le’Veon Bell held out of the NFL due to contract disputes. It was due to his belief that he was being underpaid. This may have been true at the time for Bell. He was one of the most explosive backs in the league, with unparalleled vision, and a unique ability to display patience in reading the defense and finding the narrow gap available for that play.
However, Bell’s lack of production with the Jets leads the public to believe that Bell’s success in Pittsburgh had a lot more to do with his teammates than he gave credit for.
During Bell’s tenure with the Steelers, the dynamic play of future hall of fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the blocking ability of a top-five offensive line, and the deep threat of having arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL in Antonio Brown, contributed significantly to Bell’s success.
Shortly after being released NFL Insider for ESPN Dan Graziano, shared his thoughts on possible landing spots for Bell.
As the NFL heads into week six of the 2020 season, teams will continue to weigh the pros and cons of signing Bell. With possible destinations including the Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, all of whom are vying to make a playoff run this season, teams will have to act quickly. Many don’t anticipate Bell lasting long on the open market.