The New York Jets are going through a great deal of drama. Three months into the offseason, the Jets fired general manager Mike Maccagnan after letting him run the draft and reduce the team’s cap space with several signings, including Le’Veon Bell.
New head coach Adam Gase didn’t want the former GM to sign the star running back, and now there are rumors of Gase wanting to trade Bell.
It’s going to be a hard market in which to trade a player who just signed a four-year, $52 million deal with $35 million guaranteed, but with the talent the 27-year-old back has, there will be a market for him.
It can’t be understated how much the Michigan State product can help a team’s rushing productivity. In 2016 and 2017, the Steelers averaged 107.1 rushing yards per game; when Bell missed 2018, Pittsburgh fell to the second-worst rushing attack in the NFL at 90.3.
Here are three teams that could trade for Le’Veon Bell.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Though they lack the cap space for a Bell deal, the Bucs are in desperate need of help in the run game.
Last season, the Bucs’ running backs averaged an abysmal 3.5 rushing yards per attempt. Only one other running back who wasn’t Peyton Barber put up more than 100 rushing yards for the season. These aren’t the statistics of an offense that can win with a balanced attack.
Bringing in Bell would reduce stress on quarterback Jameis Winston and the rest of the offense. In Bell’s last season of play, he had more carries (321) than all of the Bucs’ running backs combined (296).
The former Spartan can add to Bruce Arians’ Air Raid offense with his receiving ability. Bell has three seasons of 75 or more catches.
He’s a great addition to the team if the Bucs can get him, but it will require giving up one of their offensive players.
Trade Scenario: Tampa Bay trades a 2020 first-round pick along with a fifth-round pick and tight end Cameron Brate in exchange for Bell and a conditional 2020 fourth-round pick.
The Raiders picked Alabama’s Josh Jacobs in the first round of the 2019 draft. However, that doesn’t mean that a move for Bell is out of the question.
With the eighth-worst rushing attack at 101.8 rushing yards per game and only nine rushing touchdowns in 2018 (tied for second-lowest), Oakland needs help in the backfield. With Doug Martin serving as the backup at the tail-end of his career, joined by receiving backs like Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington, it’s not a backfield to trust.
Le’Veon Bell is used to taking a significant load of the carries for a team. He led the league in both carries and touches in 2017. Plus, given his relationship with former Steelers teammate Antonio Brown, it might be a great fit.
However, that previous statement might make Oakland wary of trading for him. Not only has Brown proven to be an off-the-field problem, but bringing the Bell-Brown drama to Oakland might be too much for the Raiders to handle. Yet, crazier things have happened for head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock.
The Raiders have the cap space and the offense suited for Bell. It’s a matter of them making yet another bizarre trade in the offseason.
Trade Scenario: Raiders send their 2020 first-round pick and a fourth-round pick to the Jets for Le’Veon Bell.
A trade for Le’Veon Bell would lift the Colts to newer and greater heights. It works perfectly in every category as well.
The Colts have the cap space for Bell’s $13 million per year contract, and they have the right fit for the three-time Pro Bowler. He can jump-start a Colts rushing offense that ranked 20th in the league in rushing yards per game (107.4). He would help Andrew Luck greatly in any situation.
He would be playing for a contender right away and the Jets would get a great offer without any harm to the Colts in the process. This situation works out perfectly for everyone.
Trade Scenario: Colts give up their 2020 first-round pick and their second-round pick from the Redskins in exchange for Le’Veon Bell.