The New York Jets have reportedly reached out to the Pittsburgh Steelers in regards to a possible trade involving star running back Le’Veon Bell, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
Bell has sat out for the entire preseason and the first three weeks of the regular season as he attempts to acquire a new contract, one that pays him more than the $14.5 million franchise tag tender extended by the Steelers this offseason.
It’s become clear that even if Bell signed the franchise tag, he would not return to the Steelers next year when he becomes a free agent. However, his inability to join the team at any point leading up to and during the 2018-19 season has destroyed the relationship between player and organization.
Earlier this offseason, the Steelers offered Bell a five-year, $70 million contract, but the 26-year-old turned it down. According to NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala, Bell was looking for a deal that would pay him closer to $17 million per season.
Bell is one of the top dual-threat running backs in the NFL as he’s gained over 1,800 yards from scrimmage in three of the past four years.
He’s also been one of the most used backs as well considering he had 406 touches last season. Only two running backs in the past 10 years have had more touches in a single season.
Where do the Jets fit in for Le’Veon Bell?
The Jets have gone from hopeless franchise to a team moving in the right direction after the summer they had. The drafting of Sam Darnold and the acquisitions of Trumaine Johnson, Terrelle Pryor and Isaiah Crowell provides the possibility of the Jets winning more than five games this season even though they are still rebuilding.
While Crowell has had a strong start to his Jets tenure as he and Bilal Powell have shared carries in the New York backfield, Crowell has a potential out in his contract after this year while Powell is an unrestricted free agent.
Bell would provide the Jets with legitimate star power on the offense, one that would become Darnold’s largest weapon to utilize. With a projected $90 million in cap space available next season, Bell would have not problems getting paid, either.