by Benjamin Berube, special to NYSportsDay
Le’Veon Bell has been a top running back in the NFL, rushing for more than1,000 yards over the past two years for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s been to three Pro Bowls and twice was named First Team All-Pro. He is a very talented player and would improve any team.
I don’t think it’s a good idea for the Jets to trade for him.
For one, Bell will be a free agent at seasons end, and he will demand much money to acquire him. According to NFL.com, the Steelers offered a five year, $70 million dollar contract in July, which would have made him the highest paid running back at the time. Bell didn’t believe that was what he was worth, general manager Kevin Colbert told the local media, “Le’Veon Bell wants $17 million a year.” Not all of the contract was guaranteed: reportedly 33 of the $70 million was secured, but other reports say it was in the range of $45 million guaranteed according to Ian Rapaport of NFL.com.
Back in February Bell talked to TMZ about his price to join the Jets. He said that he wanted “100 Ms,” meaning $100 million. Now the Jets will have $90 million in cap room for the 2019 offseason according to overthecap.com. However, the team has many holes besides running back. Sam Darnold is a young quarterback that needs a better overall supporting cast around him, and the offensive line ranks 17th in the league according to PFF.com. They don’t have many reliable wide receivers for Darnold. The Jets could also use another pass rusher. Acquiring Bell will not make those questions disappear.
The Steelers reportedly want a “second-round draft pick and a good player,” according to Rapoport. If I’m the Jets, I’d rather save my draft picks and spread the money on multiple needs. Also, the Jets gave up their 2019 second round pick to get Darnold, and I wouldn’t want to give up a key piece to a team that is rebuilding. The Jets will need the draft picks to continue the rebuilding process. The Jets aren’t going to win anything significant in 2018 with Bell on the team.
Throughout his career, Bell has gotten in trouble off the field. In 2014 he was arrested for a DUI and marijuana possession in an airport going to a preseason game in Philadelphia. In 2016 he missed a drug test which resulted in another suspension, according to Bryan Davis of SB Nation. He is constantly seen at bars and was recently seen in Miami partying while holding out with the Steelers. This type of behavior would not last long in NYC. The media can be brutal to the athletes who play here, and personalities like Bell would get under people’s skin.
A good example would be Odell Beckham Jr., another talented player who has a big personality. Now he isn’t as bad compared to Bell but Beckham has always been in the media spotlight, and it’s not always in the best of light like the time he partied in Miami before a playoff game. The media killed him for that and if Bell pulls something similar to that which he’s already done then he’ll be run out of town. His mistakes will be more publicized in N.Y. and the media will criticize him more harshly than in Pittsburgh.
I do realize he would help this year’s team, but I don’t think he’s worth it. He’s going to cost so much money, and putting all that money into one player will not be helpful because the Jets have a lot of holes. The offensive line is first on my list, and that can help with the running game. Great running backs have been found in the later rounds of the draft such as Kareem Hunt, Alvin Kamara, even Le’Veon Bell. There are a lot of question marks with Bell.
I don’t know if his personality will mix well with his teammates or with the media. This Jets team will not be fixed by one player overnight. They are in the process of finding the right personnel to build their franchise. Players who are hungry and driven to win a championship. Bell’s attitude and demands will not fulfill that goal.