NFL Rumors: Jets 'Undeniably' Favorites for Le'Veon Bell; Tevin Coleman Targeted

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 02:  Le'Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers attends SiriusXM at Super Bowl LII Radio Row at the Mall of America on February 2, 2018 in Bloomington, Minnesota.  (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
Cindy Ord/Getty Images

The New York Jets appear to have a leg up in the chase for Le'Veon Bell.

Connor Hughes of The Athletic reported the Jets are "undeniably the favorite" for the free-agent running back. The Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are also considered contenders for Bell's services.

Bell, 27, sat out the entire 2018 season after refusing to sign his franchise tag with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He forfeited $14.5 million in the process.

A three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro selection, Bell is expected to sign with the highest bidder in order to recoup as much of that $14.5 million as possible. The Jets currently have $102.1 million in cap space, the second-highest number in football.

New York is not without competition, but the financials of the situation make the Jets a clear favorite.

Bryce Harper, who signed with the Philadelphia Phillies last week, has already been in Bell's Instagram DMs attempting to bring him to the Eagles. Philadelphia has only $4.2 million in cap space.

The Buccaneers are sitting with $15.6 million in cap room.

Both teams can clear up space by releasing high-cost veterans, but the Jets can frontload Bell's contract in a way the others can't—giving Bell his money now while also protecting themselves for the future. If the Jets want to make a splash at running back, they're in by far the best position to make things happen.

Hughes reported the Jets will also target Tevin Coleman in case Bell decides to head elsewhere. Coleman would be a more cost-effective option while bringing some of Bell's versatility to the table, albeit at a much lower production level.