The Jets are a bad football team mostly because they don't have enough good football players on their team, so it might cause some concern in New York to hear that the team might be interested in trading their best offensive player and best defensive player this offseason. According to SNY's Ralph Vacchiano, the Jets might explore trading both running back Le'Veon Bell and safety Jamal Adams in the offseason.
While it's somewhat surprising the Jets would be interested in trading the superstar running backand a 24-year-old star safety in the middle of his prime, it's not entirely surprising after what unfolded just over a month ago, when the Jets fielded trade calls for both players, , but
Let's start with Bell.
"But the question now is, will it be his only season with the Jets?" Vacchiano reported. "Multiple sources around the NFL told me this week that they really do expect that the Jets will make Bell available this offseason."
"And that the Jets could be even more receptive to a trade than they weren't the deadline," Vacchiano added. "They did get several calls on him back then, and their asking price was high. One source said it didn't seem like the Jets were really willing to move him then, but since then it's become pretty clear that Adam Gase can't find a way to make him the center piece of their offense, or doesn't want to."
It's been a difficult season for Bell, but it's not entirely his fault. In 12 games, he's generated 992 yards and four touchdowns on 238 touches for an average of 4.2 yards per touch. During his five seasons in Pittsburgh, where he emerged as arguably the best all-around running back in football, Bell averaged 5.2 yards per touch. But it's worth noting, he went from an offense that starred Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and one of the league's top offensive lines to an offense that stars Sam Darnold, Robby Anderson, and an offensive line that ranks 28th in run blocking and 30th in pass protection, per Football Outsiders. Most running backs would struggle in the Jets' offense.
All of this -- Bell's diminishing production and the Jets' interest in trading him already -- serves as yet another reminder that teams should not be handing out big contracts to running backs in free agency, especially when you're a bad team that is still a ways away from contending. Bell's a good player, which means he'll have suitors, but the Jets will find it difficult to move him because of the contract they gave him. After the trade deadline passed,, which makes sense. Bell sat out a full season already to get a multi-year, lucrative contract. Why would he offer to take less money only one year after he actually got the contract he wanted for so many years? Conversely, why would teams that refused to give him a big contract a year ago be suddenly interested in paying him now when he's one year older coming off the least efficient season of his career? In short, it's more likely the Jets are stuck with Bell and his big contract, and Bell is stuck on a bad Jets team for the remainder of his prime.
As for Adams, he too was the subject of trade rumors around the deadline. According to SNY, Adams might be forced to deal with more trade rumblings after the season.
"He's another player that league sources still expect the Jets might be willing to trade," Vacchiano reported. "The Cowboys, of course, were in hot pursuit at the trading deadline, and they are likely to try again this winter."
It makes a little less sense why the Jets would want to move Adams, the sixth-overall pick in the 2017 draft who quickly emerged as one of the game's best young safeties. After earning a Pro Bowl nod last season, Adams has already racked up 6.5 sacks and an interception this season. Assuming the Jets pick up his fifth-year option, Adams is under contract through the 2021 season. If the Jets are able to get, moving on would be understandable given just how many holes their roster has, which those picks could, in theory, fill. Otherwise, it probably doesn't make sense for the Jets to part ways with Adams, a good young player on a team in need of more good young players.
But we're talking about the Jets here, a team that looked at Adam Gase's body of work with the Dolphins and decided he was the right man to develop Darnold and lead the team out of the depths of the AFC East, and (for what it's worth, they're now 5-8 after beating the Giants, Redskins, Raiders, and Dolphins in recent weeks). We can't rule anything stupid out.