(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
Le'Veon Bell's time with the Jets has come to an end. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported tonight that the Jets have released Bell, who has become disgruntled with how he was being used in the offense by Jets' head coach Adam Gase. The two really never saw eye to eye.
This news comes on the heels of Le'Veon Bell liking tweets asking to be traded. Well, with the massive contract that he signed with the Jets in March of 2019, four years for $52.5 million and worth up to $61 million, with $35 million guaranteed, there were no takers.
According to Schefter, the Jets tried to trade Bell for weeks, dating back to last year’s trade deadline and they couldn't find a trade partner. Per Spotrac, Bell’s release leaves behind $15 million of dead cap in 2020 and another $4 million in 2021 to the Jets. Bell earned $28 million across 17 games played for New York. Bell still has another $6 million guaranteed due to him for this season from the Jets and his next deal will offset that pay, per Field Yates of ESPN. Yates says teams essentially have a chance to offer Bell a minimum deal and he'll still make a total of $6 million for the rest of this season.
Bell held out the entire 2018 season due to a contract dispute with the Steelers and signed with the Jets in free agency, chasing the cash and security of guaranteed money. He may have cashed in on $28 million, but as far as his football career is concerned, it has certainly taken a downward spiral. In 2019, Bell rushed for 789 yards on 245 carries and three touchdowns, averaging 3.2 yards per carry. He hauled in 66 receptions for 461 yards and a touchdown, an average of 7.0 yards per reception. This year Bell has dealt with a hamstring injury and missed three games. He played in Week 1 and this past Sunday against the Cardinals, rushing for 74 yards on 19 carries and no touchdowns in the two games, averaging 3.9 yards per carry. Through the air, Bell had three receptions for 39 yards and no touchdowns. Bell never rushed for over 100 yards in a game with the Jets, the most he had was 87 yards and his longest run in a game during his tenure was 19 yards.
The stats Bell produced while with the Steelers are a big contrast to what he did with the Jets. According to ESPN Stats & Info with the Steelers, Bell averaged 129.0 scrimmage yards, 5.2 yards per touch, 0.68 touchdowns per game and 18 100-yard rushing games. With the Jets, Bell averaged 80.2 scrimmage yards, 4.1 yards per touch, 0.24 touchdowns per game and zero 100-yard rushing games.
As we have seen when he was in Pittsburgh, Bell is obviously a talented player, but he was misused in the Jets' offense and wasn't given an opportunity to excel. It remains to be seen where Bell lands next, but I certainly would be surprised if it's with the Steelers, as I believe that he's burned too many bridges with Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert and Art Rooney II. It should be interesting to see who Bell plays for next and what the cost will come at, but wherever it is I can't imagine it being any worse than his time with the Jets.