One potential suitor for Le'Veon Bell has already emerged. After missing out on Khalil Mack, the New York Jets are reportedly interested in Bell.
On Monday, ESPN's Rich Cimini and the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta reported that the Jets reached out to the Steelers about Bell, who is holding out as he seeks a lucrative long-term deal, but they haven't made an offer yet. In Cimini's report, he characterized the call as "a preliminary conversation." So just because the Jets called the Steelers does not mean they'll make an offer.
But it's not surprising the Jets are interested. When news of Bell's availability first surfaced on Sunday, our Ryan Wilson listed the Jets as one of five potential landing spots.
For one, they have the necessary cap space. Two, they -- like most teams -- could use a player of Bell's caliber. Though the Jets already have Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell in their backfield, neither of those players are on Bell's level. Since 2013, Bell ranks third in yards from scrimmage with 7,996 even though he's played in only 62 games in that span. The two players ranked above him, LeSean McCoy and Antonio Brown, have played in 77 and 79 games, respectively. The point being, Bell is a transcendent talent.
A trade would be complicated, though, because he'd be nothing more than a one-year rental. The Steelers hit him with the franchise tag in the offseason, which means he's not allowed to sign a long-term deal until the offseason. At this point, it might make more sense for a team like the Jets to wait and target Bell in the offseason, when he becomes a free agent. Even with Bell on their roster tomorrow, the Jets wouldn't be a contender this year. They're still rebuilding. If they want Bell immediately, they'll have to give up draft capital for him. And it's worth noting that the Jets already gave up multiple picks to move up for Sam Darnold in this year's draft.
Furthermore, would Bell even want to play for the Jets this year? He can't get a long-term deal until after the season, so why would he decide that he's OK playing for the Jets on a one-year deal, but not for the Steelers? In February, Bell even said that $60 million "ain't enough to come run with the Jets."
A trade certainly isn't impossible, but it's going to be complicated.