John Clayton: 'I Could Absolutely See' Jets Trading Le'Veon Bell Before Season

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2019

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) plays against the Tennessee Titans during an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Don Wright/Associated Press

If New York Jets head coach and acting general manager Adam Gase had his way, Le'Veon Bell might never play a down for the team.

NFL insider John Clayton speculated the Jets would be open to dealing Bell this offseason.

"If there's a suitor, I could absolutely see the Jets trading him before the start of the season," he said on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh.

The Jets signed Bell to a four-year, $52.5 million contract that included $27 million guaranteed.

The New York Daily News' Manish Mehta reported the team had an internal disagreement about the deal. Gase "absolutely did not want to sign Le'Veon Bell," while team CEO Christopher Johnson and then GM Mike Maccagnan were in favor of the move.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport followed up to report Gase was more concerned about the size of Bell's contract than having any issues with Bell.

In a pair of tweets Wednesday, Bell seemed to reference those reports and his absence from the Jets' voluntary offseason workouts earlier this month.

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Even if the Jets preferred to trade the three-time Pro Bowler, doing so now would be almost impossible. The market for Bell seemed lukewarm when he was a free agent. The contract he signed with New York was less than what the Pittsburgh Steelers offered him last summer, per Rapoport:

The Jets would need to find somebody who's not only willing to take on his deal but also give up an asset or two in the process. Any team interested in Bell seemingly would've signed him before New York.

More than anything, Clayton's comments—on the back of Mehta's report—strengthen the perception Gase is already having buyer's remorse about his team's marquee addition.

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