Just hours after it was reported that the NY Jets were interested in trying to trade running back Le’Veon Bell, they have instead chosen to release him. Joe Douglas made a statement thanking Le’Veon for his efforts with the club and wished him well. He also said that the decision was in the best interest of both parties.
Jets Give Bell Big Contract in 2019
The Jets signed Bell in 2019 to a four-year contract, worth $52 million. He is set to earn $6 million more following his release from the Jets. The Jets GM at the time, Mike Maccagnan, signed Bell despite objections from newly-hired coach Adam Gase. Two years later, it’s clear that Gase was ready to move on from Bell. He felt that he has not been used properly. He has also used less superior running backs more than Bell, which supported the idea that wasn’t fond of him.
Just one year after the Jets unveiled new jerseys and a “new era,” many players have left or been traded. It’s clear that Joe Douglas’s plan is to begin a completely new rebuild, which makes sense. Mike Maccagnan did more harm to the Jets than good, which is why the Jets are in the position they are today.
Bell Seemingly Asking to Be Traded
Bell seemed to have gotten what he wanted as he liked tweets on Twitter that implored the Jets to trade him. And to be honest, I don’t blame him one bit as he has been completely misused intentionally. Gase has not liked him since day one. Although Bell tried to deny it in the offseason, it was clear this relationship would not last. Bell has been nothing but classy and respectful throughout this whole process, so cheers to him for that.
He will now move on to a new club, likely one headed to the playoffs, where he will be able to shine. The Jets are a complete disaster right now and it didn’t make sense to keep Bell and his contract on the team. While the team likely looked at trade offers, they seemingly weren’t able to get anything they liked. It was reported that they have tried trading him for weeks but to no avail.
Gase has been all talk and no action on the Bell front. Six weeks after the head coach talked about how Bell would be used more as a pass-catching weapon this season, nothing seems to have changed. As a result, all we got were excuses as usual.
“I feel like we can find better ways to get him the ball to help him create more explosive plays,” Gase claimed in late August. “We can get him in space better than what we did last year. I think there was a lot of good that did in the receiving game last year. But I don’t think we ever really gave him enough space to work. Because that’s his game. If he gets space to work, he’s going to make a guy miss… I think we really got to use the whole gamut and find as many different ways to get him the ball in space as possible.”
In his short tenure as a Jet, which ended up being only seventeen games, Bell performed to career lows. In 2019, he played in fifteen games and rushed for only 789 yards, which was down for 1291 in his previous season of 2017. He was also only able to muster three touchdowns, which is the fewest he had in a season since 2015. On the receiving side, he only had 66 receptions for 461 yards. That would be down from his 85 receptions for 655 yards that he had in 2017.
All in all, Bell was a classy Jet and while he got paid more than teams like to pay running backs, he would’ve been better under a competent coach. Gase intentionally misused Bell and could only muster excuse after excuse as to why he wasn’t being used correctly. Bell will now move on from the Jets, as the Jets head into a complete teardown and rebuild move. Everyone with a high contract is on the table to be cut or traded.