In the second season of a four-year deal, Le’Veon Bell’s tumultuous Jets journey is over. In 17 games with the franchise, the two-time All-Pro scored just four total touchdowns and never gained 20 or more yards on a single carry.
Despite those disappointing numbers, Bell will likely still see himself as a lead back, and could wait to land a new contract (he’s no stranger to that) on top of the $6 million he is still due this season from the Jets. Regardless, the mercurial back could be had for a minimum contract for the rest of the season. Here are some potential landing spots for Bell.
Bill Belichick has always been a master of redemption projects, and Bell — just three years removed from being named a first-team All-Pro — is more talented than many of the projects he has undertaken. With Tom Brady gone, the Pats have committed even further to the run, but a running backs room of Damien Harris, Rex Burkhead and James White won’t blow anyone away. Bell could form a killer partnership with Cam Newton in Foxborough if Belichick calls.
At his best, Bell was as much a threat in the receiving game as he was on the ground. Enter the Bears, who have targeted their running backs the seventh-most this season (23, tied with Cardinals) and lost main receiving back Tarik Cohen for the season. GM Ryan Pace could offer Nick Foles/Mitch Trubisky a cheap weapon in Bell to further improve this 4-1 team. Former Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum agrees.
After selecting fifth overall in the draft and being pegged for another season of “rebuilding,” Miami have been surprisingly competitive at 2-3 and could add Bell to push towards a wild-card spot in the newly-expanded playoffs. Despite the emergence of rookie Myles Gaskin, the Dolphins are 30th (3.72) in rushing yards per attempt. Bell could be worth a flyer.
Like the Bears, the Cardinals like throwing to their backs. Chase Edmonds has been solid if not spectacular, while starter Kenyan Drake has been a nonfactor. Drake has also posted just 3.7 yards per rush attempt through five games. If anyone can return Bell to form, it’s offensive mastermind Kliff Kingsbury, who may want some more competition in the backfield of his 2-2 team.
Pittsburgh has a solid bell cow in James Conner, but were reportedly interested in trading for Bell before the Jets cut him. Could they reunite with their former star?
While a multiyear pact is unlikely with Saquon Barkley under contract, perhaps the Giants will try to woo Bell to remain in New York this season and complement Devonta Freeman. Dave Gettleman likely needs some wins to keep his job, while Joe Judge could be eager to replace the weapon Daniel Jones lost when Barkley went down.
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