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Projected New York Jets Starters After Le'Veon Bell Signing

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2019

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) plays in an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Don Wright/Associated Press

Welcome to 2019, where the NFL's marquee free-agent running back announces his next team on a mixtape.

Le'Veon Bell dropped said mixtape (NSFW language) Tuesday night, and Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman noted one of the lyrics said "cause I'm a Jet." ESPN's Adam Schefter cited a source who said Bell's contract with the New York Jets will be for four years and $52.5 million.   

Though Bell sat out the 2018 season due to a contract dispute with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he immediately transforms the Jets' entire offensive look. He's a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro who surpassed 1,200 rushing yards and 600 receiving yards in three of his first five professional seasons.

Le'Veon Bell @LeVeonBell

I’m back in the green baby, let’s get it

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Le’Veon Bell will sign with the New York Jets, per @AdamSchefter https://t.co/TIzathShhL

He posted 1,291 rushing yards, 655 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns during the 2017 campaign, and he figures to slide right into the starting running back role in New York.

Here is a look at the projected starting skill players, per Roster Resource:   

               

QB: Sam Darnold

RB: Le'Veon Bell

WR: Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa and Jamison Crowder

TE: Chris Herndon

         

New York finished an abysmal 26th in rushing yards last year, which put additional pressure on rookie quarterback Sam Darnold.

The lack of rushing attack often left him in 3rd-and-long situations, and he had to force throws into coverage. While he finished with a lackluster 17 touchdown passes to 15 interceptions, the No. 3 pick of the 2018 draft flashed his high ceiling at times.

He now has the type of playmaker this offense was missing last year and can rely on Bell to force additional defenders into the box, open up passing lanes and pick up plenty of yardage after the catch as a primary target in the aerial attack.

Darnold isn't the only one who will benefit, as go-to receiver Robby Anderson figures to see single coverage more frequently.

Anderson led the team with 752 receiving yards and six touchdowns last season, outproducing Quincy Enunwa (449 receiving yards and one touchdown) and Jermaine Kearse (371 receiving yards and one touchdown). Just 25 years old with plenty of speed to beat that single coverage downfield, he was even more effective in 2017 (941 receiving yards and seven touchdowns) and figures to build on that production while Bell distracts defenses.

New York also has tight end Chris Herndon as a source of optimism.

He was productive as a rookie with 39 catches for 502 yards and four touchdowns, and he should create matchup problems both for linebackers who have to worry about plugging holes and keeping up with Bell on screen passes and for safeties who are in the box to deal with a far more dangerous running game.

The Jets haven't reached the playoffs since the 2010 campaign and may not change that in 2019. But they will be far more productive on the offensive side.

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