Bell had an $8 million guarantee in his contract for 2021 if he had suffered a long-term injury. The Jets avoided this risk by releasing him just five weeks into the 2020 season.
Bell signed a four-year contract with the Jets in 2019 that was worth up to $61 million, featuring $25 million fully guaranteed.
He struggled in his first year in New York, rushing for 789 yards and three touchdowns. The 3.2 yards per attempt and 52.6 rushing yards per game were the lowest marks of his career.
The running back wasn't any better to begin 2020, totaling just 74 rushing yards in two appearances. He missed three games with a hamstring injury, creating more health concerns for a player who has had just one 16-game season since entering the league in 2013.
The Jets could have waited until the end of the year to release Bell or traded him ahead of the Nov. 3 deadline, but the early release removes the added risk of injury. With an 0-5 record to start 2020, there was little to no incentive to keep the high-priced player on the roster.
New York seemingly plans to finish the year with Frank Gore and La'Mical Perine in the backfield.