NY Jets’ running back Le’Veon Bell hinted at requesting a trade on social media Sunday night.
As expected, the NY Jets were handed their fifth loss of the season on Sunday by the Arizona Cardinals and fell to 0-5 for the first time since 1996.
Le’Veon Bell returned from a hamstring injury he suffered in the opener and struggled to get going, only receiving 14 touches and turning them into 67 yards.
Adam Gase’s usage of Bell has been confusing, to say the least. After stressing all offseason that he needs to get Bell involved in the passing game, Bell accrued just one target in Sunday’s loss.
Bell is arguably the Jets’ best weapon on offense, but the team has struggled to play to his strengths and utilize him effectively. After signing him to a four-year, $52.5 million deal in 2019, he’s been nothing but disappointment.
The Jets flirted with trading Bell at last year’s trade deadline but decided to keep him for the remainder of the season. This season, the Jets are even more hopeless than last year and a trade feels quite likely before the trade deadline.
Bell took to Twitter yesterday to seemingly agree with the idea that he should be traded. After refusing to talk to reporters after the game, he liked several tweets questioning his lack of involvement in the passing game and other tweets saying he should be traded.
He liked this tweet from Jake Asman, which was fairly direct.
— Jake Asman (@JakeAsman) October 11, 2020
Gase did not seem overly excited today during his presser that Bell used Twitter to show his discontent rather than talking to him personally.
Gase said he “hates” that social media is the route players go instead of talking about it, but that’s the way things are done now a days
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) October 12, 2020
Bell will not command a massive package to be shipped in a trade. The Jets would likely get a mid-round pick for the running back who appeared to have lost a step since he left the Pittsburgh Steelers. He should have a decent market from some running back needy teams.
Which teams could make an offer for Bell if he’s made available? Here are three teams that make plenty of sense in a potential trade.
Next: 1. Chicago Bears
1. The NY Jets could trade Le’Veon Bell to the Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears’ 4-1 start has shocked many NFL fans and probably even shocked the Bears themselves. They solidified that this start isn’t a fluke when they took down Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday.
The Bears seem ready to make a run at a playoff spot this season, but their offense may not be good enough just yet. They are 26th in yards per play (5.0) and 25th in rushing yards. They lost Tarik Cohen for the season and David Montgomery has had a sluggish start to the season.
Bell would be an instant boost to the Bears’ offense. He’d be a much-needed upgrade at the running back position and give them some receiving help that they lost with Cohen. Nick Foles and company would love to add Bell to their offense.
Bears star wideout Allen Robinson has also been involved in some trade rumors this season. Robinson is playing in a contract year and has not been pleased with the Bears’ handling of his situation so far.
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A Bell-for-Robinson exchange would not work. A swap of these two would be very unlikely. However, if the Jets send a nice package that includes Le’Veon Bell and some draft capital, perhaps they could make a run at getting the wide receiver they so desperately need.
The Bears need more talent to be able to make a deep run this season. Le’Veon Bell is a perfect option and would be a giant upgrade for the Bears at the running back position. If the Bears are still winning games come the trade deadline, they may look to make a move.
Next: 2. Arizona Cardinals
2. The NY Jets could trade Le’Veon Bell to the Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals got to be a firsthand witness of just how poorly the Jets utilize Le’Veon Bell last week. They’ve had some running back issues of their own, though.
Kenyan Drake has been a major disappointment for the Cardinals this season after his impressive finish to the 2019 season. He’s averaged just 3.7 yards per carry and has only found the end zone twice through five games. Drake is a free agent after this season.
Despite Drake’s struggles, the Cardinals offense has looked electric this season. The combination of Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins has been exactly what we expected it to be, and Kliff Kingsbury is coaching the Cardinals to success.
Bell has an interesting connection to a member of the Cardinals’ coaching staff as well. Their running back coach is James Saxon, who was the running backs coach for the Steelers from 2014-2018 when Bell had some of the best seasons of his career.
Saxon helped Bell’s career takeoff. Of course, Saxon’s only a position coach, but having seen what Bell is capable of in practice and in-game, you’d guess Saxon would be a strong advocate for acquiring Bell via trade.
The Cardinals showed they aren’t afraid to make moves to acquire offensive talent this offseason when they sent David Johnson and a second-round pick to the Houston Texans for Hopkins, which has appeared to be an absolute bargain thus far.
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Luckily for them, Bell won’t cost anywhere near as much as that.
Bell could take the Cardinals offense to the next level. He’d be an awesome receiving option for Murray and would help them open up the running game that has struggled thus far.
Sending over a late pick to add Bell and make yourself even more competitive in the NFC West almost seems like a no brainer.
The Cardinals seem ready to try and make a push at the playoffs. Playing in the best division in football makes that a challenge. They may need to add another piece to push them over the top, and Le’Veon Bell could be that guy.
Next: 3. Pittsburgh Steelers
3. The NY Jets could trade Le’Veon Bell to the Pittsburgh Steelers
You’d think that there’s some bad blood between Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers after he sat out for the entire 2018 season because of contract issues, but last year’s trade deadline may have proven otherwise.
The Steelers were surprisingly one of the teams that called the Jets last October to inquire about trading for their former running back according to Bell.
Steelers wanted Le’Veon back? ?
Bell says the Texans, Packers, Chiefs and even his former squad all tried to trade for him at the deadline
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) November 1, 2019
James Conner has done a solid job filling Bell’s shoes for the Steelers, although injuries have been an issue. He’s yet to play a 16-game season in his four-year career and missed six games last season.
The Steelers never got a chance to see Conner and Bell playing at the same time, which would have been one of the best running back duos in football, if not the best. Perhaps they’d like to reunite the two, who have always been on good terms with one another.
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) April 8, 2019
Obviously, Bell isn’t a dire need for the Steelers. They sit at 4-0 and Conner has had a great start to his 2020 campaign.
However, due to the low price Bell will be sold for, the Steelers are an interesting candidate to acquire the running back who was at one point the best runner in the NFL with Pittsburgh.