After much speculation, Le’Veon Bell has agreed to join the New York Jets for the next four seasons. The signing has a huge impact in regards to the future of the franchise.
The New York Jets held tight and ultimately came up with free agency’s big fish in running back Le’Veon Bell. The move for Bell could not have come at a better time for the franchise as quarterback Sam Darnold enters his second season as the team’s starter. Bell, after sitting out the 2017-2018 NFL season, is reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter to be signing a deal worth $52.5 million.
Le’Veon at his best is one of the best offensive weapons a QB can ask for and can create a world of problems for the other team. Bell can be both a threat as a runner and as a pass catcher. This was a great risk at the time to make for a franchise on the rise.
The best time to win is when your quarterback is still on his rookie deal like Sam Darnold is. The move not only helps the present, but will also help the future. While trying to win now, adding Bell will also ease Darnold’s development. Despite sitting out the past season, here are three reasons why Le’Veon Bell is a great addition to the team.
1. The Running Game
The Jets last season ranked 26th in the league in rushing offense. Adding a dynamic running back in the mold of Bell will help the offense see a rise in this area.
Bell’s patience allows the time for his lineman to better set up blocks in front of him. There are times where he gets a handoff and comes to a complete stop before he finds a hole to run through. His style makes opposing linebackers think twice before they rush to fill a lane. Make a move too early and Bell will leave you grabbing at air.
His patience is his most notable trait, but what sets him apart from the rest of the bunch is his ability in the open field. His elusiveness makes him a tough tackle in the second level. This type of game-changing ability is something that the offense was missing.
Watching Bell run, you almost never have a clue as to which way he is going to go. Just when you think he is setting you up to go left, he goes right. To be a great running back, you have to be able to create extra yardage for yourself and Le’Veon Bell does just that. He can not only go around you, but he can also go through you.
At 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds, he has the size that no defensive back can match. Linebackers are too slow to catch him and defensive backs are too small to bring him down one on one. That combo creates a world of trouble.
Next: 2. The Passing Game
2. The Passing Game
If you thought Bell was good running the ball, wait until you see his ability when you throw it to him. Bell is a true three-down back as during his last two seasons in Pittsburgh, he caught 75 passes in 2016 and 85 passes in 2017.
Those numbers show that Bell is more than just a check down option for Darnold, he is much much more. Pittsburgh used Bell as a pass catcher out of the backfield, out of the slot, and even out wide. Being 6-foot-1 with that kind of ability as a receiver makes Bell a living nightmare for a defense.
Bell’s versatility is unheard of as he led his team in rushing and was the second-leading receiver on the team after Antonio Brown who is arguably the best receiver in football. He has a gift in the passing game you can’t teach.
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Bell can run any route that you would ask a typical receiver to run, except the problem for a defense is that he will be covered by a linebacker creating a huge mismatch. Bell is much faster than anyone trying to line up with and too agile for them to stay with him.
Darnold will absolutely love having Bell as his security blanket. Even when the ball does not go to Bell, the amount of attention Bell draws, will free up space for the other receivers.
Bell is such a headache that he will free up space for Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, and Chris Herndon. Anderson has blazing speed and trying to cover him one-on-one requires a corner to match him step-for-step. The list of corners with that kind of speed is very limited and you can probably count them all on your fingers.
Next: 3. Tom Brady
3. Tom Brady
The best way to beat Tom Brady is simply to keep the ball out of his hands. The best way to do that is to chew the clock. In order to execute clock management, you need a good running game and a running back that can handle a huge workload.
Bell fits both of those traits.
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During the 2017 season, Bell carried the ball 321 times which is almost 40 more than the next running back. Factor in the 85 catches and Bell got the ball a total of 406 times in 15 games.
Those type of numbers makes him a true workhorse and the key to beating Tom Brady. Brady is one of the greatest players ever, if not the greatest, and the only way to stop him is to not let him touch the ball. Bell is quite possibly the best option the entire league to achieve that plan.
Brady has won a total of six Super Bowls as a Patriot, which equals the total achieved by Bell’s former team in the Pittsburgh Steelers. With Brady getting older, the opportunity to beat him is only getting better. The Jets are guaranteed to play the Pats at least twice this season and have the chance to show them that they mean business.
The team has added some key pieces to the defense and now with Le’Veon Bell in the fold, the Jets are positioning themselves to make some noise.