Bell hasn't been present at the Jets' team facility since the first week of voluntary workouts, Connor Hughes of The Athletic reports. This doesn't seem to be a point of contention, as Bell likely informed the Jets of his plan when he signed a four-year, $52.5 million contract last month. He's always preferred to work out on his own during the offseason -- something that may have played a role in his inability to secure a long-term contract with Pittsburgh. In any case, the 27-year-old has plenty of time to get in shape and learn coach Adam Gase's playbook before rejoining his teammates for OTAs in May or mandatory minicamp in June. Gase said he'll be cautious about overworking his star runner, but it will be tough to take Bell off the field for more than a breather when the backfield alternatives are Ty Montgomery, Elijah McGuire, Trenton Cannon and De'Angelo Henderson.
Coach Adam Gase said the Jets will cater the offense around Bell in 2019, Randy Lange of the team's official site reports. "We'll easily be able to adapt to what Le'Veon does in the run game," Gase mentioned. "It's just going to take more of the chemistry part of line, him, quarterback, receivers, tight ends, everybody just getting used to playing with each other. And the run schemes that he's really good at, we'd be fools to not to do those." After holding out last season, Bell finally wrested himself free of the Steelers, and despite missing out on the $14.5 franchise tender, netted a four-year, $52.5 million contract from the Jets during the legal tampering period in mid-March. He immediately becomes the focus of the entire Jets offense behind signal-caller Sam Darnold, who showed promise in 13 starts as a rookie. Bell himself is just 27 years old, but he also had the most touches (1,252) and snaps (2,932) among running backs between 2014 and 2018. Gase addressed the high usage, saying, "We'll keep an eye on that." During the aforementioned stretch, Bell averaged 409 touches for 2,200 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns per 16 games, so there's little doubt he'll be among the first handful of players selected during draft season.
Bell agreed to a four-year, $52.5 million contract with the Jets on Tuesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Earlier Tuesday the Jets gave Bell a deadline to decide if he would sign with them, and Bell finally came to terms with $13.125 million per year. Bell held out the entire 2018 season despite having a $14.54 million tender on the table, but this deal gives the versatile back more long-term security even though it's at a lower annual rate. Bell averaged 141.8 scrimmage yards per game over his last two campaigns, but he hasn't played an NFL snap since the 2017 season. He'll be the clear-cut No. 1 running back for the Jets, and his receiving abilities -- and mere presence -- will boost Sam Darnold's value moving forward.
The Jets have given Bell a deadline to decide if he will sign with them, Connor Hughes of The Athletic reports. Matt Schneidman of The San Jose Mercury News reports the Raiders are still alive in the bidding, while Ian Rapoport of NFL Network suggests the Ravens have emerged as the favorites to sign Mark Ingram. The Jets presumably intend to revoke their contract offer and shift the focus to other running backs if Bell doesn't make a decision before the unspecified deadline.
The Jets are expected to pursue Bell during the offseason, NJ.com's Darryl Slater reports. Flush with cap space and short on explosive playmakers, the Jets have long been rumored as a potential fit for Bell, though the interest isn't necessarily mutual. It remains to be seen if the Steelers will use a transition tag, which would allow them to work out a trade or match any offer sheet but also would eliminate the possibility of a compensatory draft pick. A third consecutive franchise tag with the intention of keeping Bell in Pittsburgh seems to be out of the question at a cost upward of $20 million, so there's little question Bell will have the opportunity to find a new team. He'll turn 27 in February after sitting out the entire 2018 season.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|3||09/22||@New England Patriots||8||16.00|
|7||10/22||New England Patriots||8||16.00|
|10||11/10||New York Giants||23||19.88|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||194||853||5||53||424||1||161|