Whether he likes it or not, Le’Veon Bell needs to come to the realization that he will likely be donning green and white for the rest of the season.
Bell is unhappy in New York and, frankly, it’s hard to blame him at this point. After vowing to make him a focal point of the offense throughout training camp, Adam Gase has done a terrible job of maximizing his star running back. Bell saw only 14 touches in his return to action against the Cardinals on Sunday, which isn’t going to satisfy any player who is established as a No. 1 running back — especially a pass-catching back expecting to see more than one ball thrown his way.
“They were getting the safety working down on him instead of the linebackers,” Gase said, per ESPN’s Rich Cimini. “We liked his matchup against the linebackers, but they were using the safeties a little bit with him. I saw that and probably got away from him a little bit. That’s just kind of the flow of the game, how it felt.”
Bell’s Twitter activity indicates that he wants out. The trade deadline is two weeks away and it is safe to assume the 0-5 Jets will consider all trade possibilities, including ones featuring Bell. That doesn’t mean New York is going to move the disgruntled Bell, though.
Joe Douglas is going to do what is best for the Jets. He established that with the way he handled the Jamal Adams saga. If Bell’s market does not net a return Douglas is pleased with, he will hold onto him until an offer to his liking presents itself. But it’s more likely the 28-year-old back finds himself on the chopping block this offseason than on the trade block this season.
It’s hard to see any contender making a move for Bell at the deadline. His 2020 base salary is $8.5 million and he is guaranteed $5 million at the deadline. No team with any regard for its salary cap situation will trade for that price tag without the Jets either eating money or throwing in a late-round draft pick as a sweetener — something Douglas is unlikely to do given his affinity for draft picks.
Running backs don’t have great value on the trade market as it is these days. The position has become viewed as an expendable one where players can be cycled in and out — Broncos running back Melvin Gordon can attest to that given his experience being pushed to the side with the Chargers last season. With that in mind, why would any contender make a move for Bell? It’s not like he has shown glimpses of the playmaking ability he put on display throughout his career with the Steelers lately. Factor in his recent injury history and a trade becomes even less likely than it already is.
Unless Douglas and the Jets are willing to take a lesser return and eat some cash to get Bell off the books, odds are he isn’t going anywhere just yet. That is a reality he is going to have to come to grips with.