The New York Jets made a ton of moves during the 2019 offseason, none were greater than picking Le’Veon Bell over Antonio Brown.
After another playoff-less year, the New York Jets had to make some serious makeovers to its roster.
Many Jets fans were split on whether they wanted AB, Bell, or maybe in some crazy scenario both?
Bell became the unrestricted free agent he wanted to be, so it made it easy (somewhat) for the Jets to acquire him, just win the bidding process.
AB was a tougher nut to crack. The Steelers put him on the block with him still under contract. Which meant if any team wanted him had to compensate Pittsburgh AND give AB an extension.
Ultimately the Jets decided that the cost was too great to acquire AB, despite the talent and need for a true No. 1 wideout on the team.
Hindsight is 20-20, but the latest chapter in the Brown saga has sealed the deal, the Jets made the correct choice picking Bell over AB.
Jumping in the time machine before free agency, both Le’Veon and Antonio were painted as terrible teammates and locker room cancers.
Per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, “for all the whispers of what Bell was or wasn’t during his ugly divorce with the Steelers, this much is clear now: He’s been a model teammate this summer, a difference-maker hoping to bring a wayward franchise back from the margins.The bitterness surrounding Bell’s contract dispute with his former employer clouded the fact that he’s actually everything you’d want in your star player: Hardworking, selfless and willing to sacrifice for the greater good. He’s never asked for the red-carpet treatment. He’s been the epitome of a pro.”
The #Jets Zone w/ @BoyGreen25 feat @Marcel_LJ of @espn:– Preview Week 1 #BUFvsNYJ. – What's the matchup that'll decide the game? – A full breakdown of the #BillsMafia roster.– What's the next step for @JoshAllenQB? #GoBills #TakeFlight #JetUphttps://t.co/j0Qi5CzELK
— The Jets Zone (@TheJets_Zone) September 4, 2019
While on the other side here are just a handful of the situations the Oakland Raiders have had to deal with since sending third and fifth-round draft choices to the Steelers (and a brand new contract extension) back in March:
He suffered frostbite to his feet because he wasn’t wearing the proper footwear during a typical cryotherapy session. This forced him to miss a large chunk of training camp.
In early August he filed for a grievance regarding his ability to wear an outdated helmet this season in which he threatened retirement if he didn’t get his way. He lost all of the appeals and was set to return to the football field.
New general manager Mike Mayock fined AB over $50,000 due to a variety of unexcused absences. Which led to Brown posting the letter Mayock sent him on Instagram and then escalated into a face-to-face conversation where AB threatened to hit Mayock in the face.
The Raiders did have a plan on the table to levy a suspension for an unknown length of time. Which led to an immature decision to unfollow the Oakland Raiders and quarterback Derek Carr on Instagram.
So it seems like the drama in Pittsburgh was real with Antonio Brown. Where there was smoke, there was clearly fire.
Although that doesn’t seem to be the case with Bell over a similar time frame since joining the green and white in March.
Bell has said all the right things and has been a ‘model citizen’.
Le’Veon from the last down he played with the Steelers to his very first snap with the Jets on Sunday vs the Bills will span 601 days. That’s a long period of time that you can either look at as potential rust or much-needed rest for an overworked running back.
Well put Bell in the much-needed rest crowd because he’s ready to deliver for the Jets as much as he’s needed by head coach Adam Gase:
“I could carry it 50 (times) if he asked me to,” Bell said Wednesday via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “I’m ready. When I said don’t hold back, I mean literally that. I don’t want to go out there and try to sprinkle me in… I’m ready to play football. I’ve been waiting a long time for this moment. A lot of people are excited to see me play. Quadruple that. That’s how I feel. I’m excited to play. And I can’t wait.”
That is the exact kind of hutzpah the Jets need offensively and Sam Darnold needs around him quite frankly. Hell, the Jets fanbase needs that electricity and vibes after so many long years without any proven offensive NFL stars to build around.
Clearly, the Jets feel pretty good about their investment and we’ll see if it pays immediate dividends in an all-important AFC East divisional matchup with the Buffalo Bills in Week 1 of the 2019 season.