Times have changed in the NFL.
The trade deadline used to mean virtually nothing. Teams rather executed trades, and when they did, it was usually during the offseason.
But now, the Week 8 deadline is an active hot stove where player movement is being more and more common, and this year, a very big name could be on the move.
According to Manish Mehta of The New York Daily News, the Jets are trying to trade running back Le’Veon Bell ahead of the deadline, marking the second time we have heard Bell trade rumors since he signed a four-year deal with the club back in March.
I would say this is par for the course for the Jets, an organization that has been languishing at the bottom of the NFL for decades now, but this is out of the ordinary even for them and just shows the level of dysfunction that has occurred since they hired Adam Gase as head coach.
Remember: Mike Maccagnan was the general manager at that time, but Gase eventually forced him out after free agency and the draft (you know, when a team has already made all of its offseason moves).
Gase never really wanted Bell, but Maccagnan did, and Le’Veon Bell wanted the Jets, which was why the two sides agreed to a lucrative contract.
Now, with the Jets sitting at 1-6, they are deciding to sell off some pieces at the deadline, which is not surprising. They already traded away Leonard Williams, who they weren’t going to re-sign during the offseason anyway. But Bell? The three-time Pro Bowl halfback you just gave over $50 million and who was supposed to help your young quarterback in Sam Darnold develop?
I understand that Bell has not been good this year. He is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry, and he has punched in just two touchdowns, one on the ground and one through the air.
But when your offensive line is one of the worst in the NFL, what do you expect?
I don’t care how talented your running back is: if he doesn’t have adequate blocking in front of him, he is going to struggle, and Bell is finding that out the hard way after spending five years running behind an elite offensive line in Pittsburgh.
Maybe, just maybe, a better solution for the Jets would be to keep Bell and try to address their ailing offensive line during the offseason? After all, not too long ago, Bell was considered by many to be the best running back in the league.
But no; that’s too logical. Instead, let’s trade Bell and torpedo our offense altogether.
And let’s keep in mind that Bell’s contract has a max value of $61 million with incentives and is paying him $35 million in guaranteed money, so the Jets are going to have a tough time recouping a significant package in return.
Unless, of course, New York wants to pay a good portion of Bell’s salary, and even then, the Jets will likely get the short end of the stick.
To me, this wreaks of a desperate power move by Gase, an “I told you so” type of thing where he is almost trying to pass the buck on to Maccagnan for signing Bell to begin with.
Gase wants to do things his way, and Bell was never a part of his plan. That much is clear. But Gase is also sabotaging himself in the process, as he can’t seriously believe that the Jets are a better team without Le’Veon Bell.
Or can he?
But we are reaching a critical point now where Gase has to step back and evaluate exactly what he is trying to do and whether or not it makes sense, because no one else thinks it does.
Of course, the Jets’ issues run much deeper than Gase historically. Gase just got to New York this year, and the Jets have been a suffering franchise for much longer than that.
I don’t know what it is with this team, but nothing ever seems to go right for it, and just when it looks like it was turning the corner (like during the offseason when it signed Bell and C.J. Mosley, among others), things completely unraveled.
Whether it has been Gase all but calling for Maccagnan’s firing or Darnold coming down with mono or the Jets having to release Kelechi Osemele due to what could develop into an ugly legal battle or this recent Le’Veon Bell rumor, it has all gone downhill, and fast.
Back when the New York Giants traded away Odell Beckham Jr. and then drafted Daniel Jones, they became the laughing stock of the Big Apple for the first time in a long while. Maybe ever.
But the Jets then quickly pulled up a chair right next to them, and now, with Beckham laboring in Cleveland and Jones looking like a heck of a pick at No. 6, Gang Green has re-assumed its position as New York’s class clown.