RB - NYJ
RB Le’Veon Bell is “training like a mad man this offseason (evident by his Instagram stories) to get back to the guy he once was,” per Connor Hughes of the Athletic.
Bell has been ramping up his training this offseason and looking to rebound after a career-worst 2019 campaign. The Jets are reportedly looking to deal Bell once the team is out of the playoff race. “The team trading for Bell is on the hook for however many games they get Bell for, not before they acquire him,” Hughes added. “The only dead charge on Bell’s contract is the $4 million left from his prorated singing bonus.” The 28-year-old will compete for carries out of the Jets’ backfield with ageless wonder Frank Gore and fourth-rounder Lamical Perine. Bell is highly motivated and is a borderline RB2 in all league formats. He is currently 24th among all running backs in the latest expert consensus rankings.
New York Jets ESPN reporter Rich Cimini believes the team will shop RB Le’Veon Bell if they are out of contention mid-way through the season.
“If the Jets are out of contention by midseason, they probably will look to shop him at the trading deadline,” Cimini wrote. This makes sense, given Bell’s age and current contract with the Jets. They went out and signed the ageless Frank Gore as well as drafted Lamical Perine out of Florida who possesses some of the same ability as a pass-catcher that Bell does. New York’s schedule is far from ideal the first eight weeks of the season, as they’ll face the Bills twice, 49ers, Colts, Broncos, Cardinals, Chargers, and Chiefs. Don’t be surprised if Bell is moved midseason based on that brutal opening schedule. This could have an impact on both Gore’s and Perine’s fantasy value. Perine could become a useful asset in New York sooner rather than later. He’s an interesting handcuff and could have his own standalone value with the Jets this season.
Le’Veon Bell “can’t wait” to run behind the team’s revamped offensive line, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.
Bell was asked by Fowler if he noticed the off-season priority of adding “road-graders” to clear a path for the runner, and he responded with “absolutely.” The Jets added Mekhi Becton, Greg Van Roten and George Fant to bolster the offensive line. Bell’s fantasy stock has taken a hit this off-season. The Jets may have bolstered their line, but also added Frank Gore, Kenneth Dixon and LaMichael Perine to the RB mix. In early May, Jets’ HC Adam Gase said “The plan is to take a less is more approach to Bell’s usage in 2020.” Bell is coming off a disappointing 2019 campaign, logging 245 carries for 789 yards along with 66 receptions for 461 yards and four total touchdowns across 15 games. The 28-year-old is currently 23rd among all running backs in the latest expert consensus rankings.
Jets coach Adam Gase said that he plans to take a "less is more" approach with running back Le'Veon Bell next season. He said "we can get some of the younger backs to where we can make a good one-two punch to where we can really excel instead of feeling like it's just all on him all the time."
Considering the $13.5M per year that the Jets owe Bell, it would be shocking to see his role reduced to part of a committee. Bell was eighth in touches last season with 245 carries and 66 receptions, but was 16th in scrimmage yards among running backs. His 3.2 yards per attempt were by far the lowest of his career (he was averaging 4.3 in Pittsburgh) and Gase seems to be passing the blame on him seeing loaded boxes and too much volume. Bell had 406 touches in 2017, his last year with the Steelers, and 311 last season in New York. While limiting Bell's touches might help his per touch numbers, Sam Darnold's progression will be the biggest factor in Bell's overall production for 2020. Currently ranked our 25th running back, Bell's upside and talent will likely cause him to slide up between now and Week 1.
Running back Le'Veon Bell may not take part in the Jets' offseason program, but head coach Adam Gase told reporters "it’s not a huge deal."
Gase has made it clear that he didn't think Bell was a great fit from the time the running back was signed, and the team would likely love to trade the veteran, but Bell's contract and lack of production will likely not allow for a move this offseason. As such, Bell basically can do what he wants. Given the situation, Bell should continue to be used heavily as the Jets really have nothing to lose, assuming he's able to provide at least average production. As such, he's entering the new season considered a low-end RB2 by our current expert consensus rankings.
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