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Le'Veon Bell Released by Jets After NY Failed to Trade RB

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2020

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - OCTOBER 21:  Le'Veon Bell #26 of the New York Jets runs the ball against the New England Patriots during the first half at MetLife Stadium on October 21, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Steven Ryan/Getty Images

The New York Jets have released running back Le'Veon Bell, the team announced Tuesday evening. 

New York Jets @nyjets

Statement from GM Joe Douglas https://t.co/By9XevVXVv

The move comes less than halfway through a four-year, $52.5 million deal the Jets gave the 27-year-old in 2019 and included $27 million guaranteed.

Bell ran for 863 yards and three touchdowns while catching 69 passes for 500 yards and one score over 17 games with New York.

Le'Veon Bell @LeVeonBell

🙏🏾

The team couldn't get to training camp last season before questions arose regarding Bell's long-term future in the Big Apple.

New York announced May 15 it fired general manager Mike Maccagnan and named Adam Gase as the acting GM until it found a permanent replacement.

Bell was already under contract by that point, and the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta and NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the Jets had some internal disagreement over whether to sign Bell in the first place:

Manish Mehta @MMehtaNYDN

One disagreement between Adam Gase and Mike Maccagnan/Christopher Johnson... Gase absolutely did not want to sign Le’Veon Bell, per sources. In fact, he made it clear that he didn’t want to spend a lot of money on any running back.

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Liked the player, didn’t love the money is how I heard it on Le’Veon Bell. Adam Gase also didn’t love the price tag on CJ Mosley. It all added up. https://t.co/BOZw4b5GwX

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Few thought New York would actually take the extreme step of trading the Michigan State product before he completed the 2019 season, though.

There's no way for the team to positively spin the fact it spent millions on signing the three-time Pro Bowler and ultimately received such a small return on its investment.

One could also argue Bell provided obvious value to the Jets offense, so Gase—regardless of what he thought about his contract—might have been better off making things work rather than jettisoning him. Without a dynamic receiver available, getting the best running back was a good way to find support for Sam Darnold.

Bell also represented a significant upgrade over Isaiah Crowell and Elijah McGuire, the Jets' top two rushers in 2018.

Now, New York is leaning on Frank Gore, who has 204 rushing yards and is averaging 3.2 yards per carry in 2020.

Mike Greenberg @Espngreeny

When Sam Darnold was diagnosed with mono the first thing I said was, the #Jets will trade Le’Veon Bell. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they do today. The coach obviously doesn’t have any idea how to use him. Let him go play for an offensive genius who actually has a clue.

Between giving huge deals to Bell and C.J. Mosley, firing the GM who finalized those contracts and now releasing Bell, the 2019 offseason couldn't have gone any worse for the Jets. The fanbase was cautiously optimistic with Darnold leading the rebuild, but now much of that positivity has vanished.

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