That sound you just heard was the shrugging of the shoulders from thousands of Jets fans across the country as their hapless team announced that it was releasing starting tailback Le’Veon Bell. This is the same Le’Veon Bell that the Jets signed to a four-year, $52.5 million contract before the 2019 season. In Bell’s one full season with New York, he averaged 3.2 yards per carry and the Jets won seven games.
Yeesh. They probably could have ended that statement after “both parties” because Douglas knows he will look like a fool if Bell goes on to rush for 1,200 yards for some other team.
This was the guy who was supposed to help out quarterback Sam Darnold and be a multi-faceted offensive weapon. We knew Bell’s days of averaging five yards per tote and catching 70 passes were behind him, but not THIS far behind him. It’s not as though other NFL teams are chomping at the bit waiting for him to officially hit free agency. In fact, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk thinks that the Jets are still trying to find a trade partner even though they already announced Bell’s release.
His release won’t become official until Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. ET. Before then, a team that hopes to secure dibs on Bell can try to work out a deal pursuant to which the Jets would get something/anything and the Jets would pay the difference between the amount the new team is willing to pay Bell and the balance of his 2020 compensation.
I don’t know if there’s a contending team that’s desperate enough at tailback to give the Jets a deal. Maybe the 2-3 Miami Dolphins fit into that category considering how little they’ve gotten out of Jordan Howard and Matt Breida, but they seen content enough with Myles Gaskin at the moment.
As for the Jets, they’ve already been without Bell for three games this year due to a hamstring injury and the indestructible Frank Gore has handled most of the carries in his place. It would seem crazy for the 0-5 Jets to keep giving the ball to a guy who could easily be five years into retirement by now, but fans of the team will tell you that they’re used to decisions not making sense.
Just in case, I pulled back my fantasy football waiver claim that was set to drop Gore, but I still think that fourth round draft pick La’Mical Perine gets a lot more work in the near future. We could also see more Ty Johnson on passing downs now that Kalen Ballage is out of the picture. And don’t forget former Notre Dame standout Josh Adams on the practice squad.
The whole situation will be a labyrinth inside a quagmire shrouded in a thick fog, but as a fantasy manager who is eagerly awaiting Christian McCaffrey’s return to action, I’ve got to follow it as closely as possible. For Jets fans, though, the backfield mess takes a backseat to the quarterback situation. Sam Darnold will be under intense scrutiny as the Jets continue to lose and increase their chances of landing the top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.