How will Le’Veon Bell help the Jets offense in 2019?

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 29: Running back Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs for yardage against strong safety Tavon Wilson #32 of the Detroit Lions during the first half at Ford Field on October 29, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 29: Running back Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs for yardage against strong safety Tavon Wilson #32 of the Detroit Lions during the first half at Ford Field on October 29, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Early Wednesday morning, it was reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter that star free agent running back Le’Veon Bell had agreed to terms on a four-year, $52.5 million deal with the New York Jets, immediately improving the team’s offense.

Overall, the New York Jets struggled immensely in 2018, finishing with a 4-12 record and in fourth place in the AFC East. The Jets offense, specifically, struggled as well, finishing 29th in total yards. Simply put, the unit was downright awful for the majority of the season.

For this reason, the signing of Le’Veon Bell will be crucial for the improvement of the offense in 2019.

Despite showing signs of promise, rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, who was drafted with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, experienced growing pains throughout an up-and-down season as it became clear that he was surrounded by very few legitimate playmakers. In addition, the run game was wildly inconsistent and at times, almost non-existent.

With that being said, Bell, a dual-threat back who is the first player in league history to total 4,000 rushing yards and 2,000 receiving yards through his first 50 games, will likely help on multiple fronts.

First and foremost, there are simply few players in the league more dynamic and more versatile than Bell is on offense and the Jets certainly haven’t had a player even remotely comparable to him in the backfield since Curtis Martin exited One Jets Drive in 2007.

In terms of running the ball, Bell is amongst the most gifted runners in the league, as he totaled 2,559 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns over his final two years in Pittsburgh. A patient runner with incredible vision, Bell will often hesitate momentarily upon receiving a handoff before identifying a hole and exploding through it.

With the Jets working to improve their offensive line, there’s no question that Bell will take the team’s rushing attack to a level it hasn’t seen in years. That will then, in turn, benefit Darnold and open up the passing attack where Bell will also play a role.

In terms of his receiving skills, Bell totaled 160 receptions, 1,267 yards and four touchdowns over his final two seasons in Pittsburgh. If he were to put up similar receiving numbers in 2019 as he did in 2016 and 2017, he’d likely rank as one of the Jets best receivers.

A dangerous target in the passing game out of the backfield, Bell will likely serve as a safety option for Darnold while providing him with another much-needed weapon, alleviating some of the pressure on him. Specifically, Bell should drastically increase the success of the Jets’ short-yardage passing game, an area where Darnold struggled last year.

In addition, his presence and threat in the backfield should open up the playbook in terms of play-action opportunities, while also providing more room to succeed for his teammates.

Quincy Enunwa, specifically, should now be able to run a more diverse variety of routes, as he was often underused last year. Also, Robby Anderson will likely benefit from Bell’s presence as well. Teams will be forced to stack the box to contain Bell, allowing Anderson more room to work against single coverage.

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Ultimately, one player likely can’t change everything, but with Bell, the possibilities seem to be endless. And with new head-coach Adam Gase, a creative offensive mind, at the helm, Bell will likely be used in a wide variety of ways which will not only benefit Darnold but the offense as a whole as well.