Le’Veon Bell was released by the New York Jets late Tuesday afternoon.
Following an extremely unfruitful 19-month relationship which culminated in multiple failed trade attempts, head coach Adam Gase decided to eat the loss and simply cut his disgruntled running back.
“After having conversations with Le’Veon and his agent and exploring potential trade options over the past couple of days, we have made the decision to release Le’Veon,” the Jets said in a prepared statement late Tuesday night.
“The Jets organization appreciates Le’Veon’s efforts during his time here and we know he worked hard to make significant contributions to this team. We believe this decision is in the best interests of both parties and wish him future success.”
Bell responded to the move immediately on Twitter.
— Le’Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) October 14, 2020
New York is on the hook for the $6 million left on Bell’s base pay for the year, but there is a clause in his contract that will reduce it by the amount of the salary on whatever his new deal is for.
All in all, this relationship was objectively an unmitigated disaster from start to finish.
In the time since he signed a four-year, $52.5 million contract with the Jets last year, Bell has played in 17 total games. Over the course of those outings, he has rushed for 863 yards and three touchdowns – good for 3.3 yards per carry.
Bell accrued just 1,250 yards from scrimmage last season.
So now what? Who will take a chance on him? At the moment there are two clear potential suitors: the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots.
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell laid out a compelling case on Tuesday for why Chicago should pull the trigger on a potential Bell signing.
“Bell would be a replacement for Tarik Cohen, who went down with a torn ACL at the end of September,” he noted.
What a year. https://t.co/aXauCkoKLW
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 10, 2020
“David Montgomery is on the roster and would still be the featured back, but the 2019 third-rounder hasn’t looked good as the primary back, failing to top 30 yards rushing or receiving in each of the past two games.
“Chicago has used Cordarrelle Patterson as a change of pace, but Bell would immediately step in and take Cohen’s role in the offense, which should be something in the ballpark of eight to 10 touches per game.”
The Bears currently rank at the bottom of the league when it comes to total offensive yards, offensive yards per game, total rushing yards, and rushing yards per game. Obviously adding Bell should help address those woes, at least in some capacity.
If not Chicago, the Patriots also seem to be a natural landing spot.
This is gonna get very messy very quickly. https://t.co/UKWVD4XMiu
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 12, 2020
Quarterback Cam Newton has limited talent to work with, and asking someone to take you to a Super Bowl when N’Keal Harry is one of his three best offensive weapons is a tall order.
Head coach Bill Belichick loves picking up players that are deemed “broken” and then trying to repair them. His results are pretty mixed, but he isn’t afraid to give it the ol’ college try.
One way or another, Bell will be on a new team within the next few days.
Will he be able to make a meaningful impact? Time will tell.