Dead period in the NFL? We can always count on the Jets to create something to talk about.
General manager Mike Maccagnan is out, and part of the explanation appears to be he and new coach Adam Gase were not on the same page with the Le'Veon Bell signing:
On its face, this isn't the most damning report we could hear. But it's also less than ideal as Gase and Bell both head toward their first season with the Jets. The concerns around targeting Bell in Fantasy Football drafts are starting to mount.
Despite only playing 16 games once in five active seasons, Le'Veon Bell has three top three PPR finishes among running backs, only missing that lofty status in his rookie year in 2013 and his six-game 2015 season. That's a tantalizing profile that has drafters considering him in the back end of the first round in early drafts.
Of course, those seasons came in a prolific Steelers offense that averaged 1,035 plays per year and 25.5 points per game over that span. The Jets ran just 971 plays last year, seventh fewest in the league, and averaged 20.8 points per game. While that could certainly rise, Gase's Miami offenses don't offer much reason for optimism. The 2018 Dolphins only ran 878 plays, fewer than not just the other 31 teams last year but any team in the past five seasons. Gase's Dolphins were also the league's slowest-paced team in 2016 and didn't break 1,000 plays in any of his three years at the helm, something the Steelers did in every one of Bell's seasons.
The new-look Jets could play different than the 2018 iteration, and certainly Gase's talent-deficient Dolphins teams, especially given they now have Bell in the fold. But concerns over Bell's workload are real from a team-level perspective, and that's before you get into Gase's comments at the annual meetings where he had:
"He plays a position that's very physical. You can wear a guy out with too many rushes, touches, snaps, practice snaps. We'll keep an eye on that. This is not going to be where we burn him out in the first six months. We're aware of that. I feel like in this system we've always taken care of those backs and made sure we used them the right way in practice. In games, that's why, historically, I've always used a lot of running backs."
It wasn't just the Steelers offense that drove Bell's massive workloads in the past, but also his notoriously high share of the backfield touches. Even before Wednesday's news that Gase wasn't totally on board with signing Bell — at least at the price they paid — it seemed evident Bell wouldn't see that same share with the Jets.
Gase has a bit of a reputation for odd backfield management, so we'll see where things go from here. But for a player with a litany of concerns — sitting out all of the 2018 season, reportedly ballooning to 260 pounds during his time off (something), a long history of high touch counts including a whopping 431 through the playoffs of his most recent season — this latest report, and the potential for weird usage or even internal turmoil that come with it, just adds more concern over his ability to be an elite Fantasy back for a full 16-game season in 2019.