Le’Veon Bell feels like that impulse buy you make after a few too many drinks when you’re cruising around Amazon, hit the purchase button and then immediately realize it was a bad idea.
The Jets made their impulse purchase in March 2019 when former general manager Mike Maccagnan gave Bell a four-year, $52.5 million contract despite the objections of coach Adam Gase, who wanted to allocate that money toward offensive linemen. Since the signing, the decision has looked worse and worse as Bell has been a bad fit, ineffective and at times a distraction.
The last category reared up again after Sunday’s 30-10 loss to the Cardinals when Bell took to Twitter, his favorite outlet, to take passive-aggressive shots at the team and Gase. He liked tweets about how poorly the Jets are using him in the passing game and one about how the Jets should trade him.
If only Bell’s feet moved as fast as his thumbs these days.
This is the second time in the last two months he had a Twitter tantrum. Bell whined about being removed from a scrimmage on the social media platform in August, claiming Gase lied about his hamstring tightening up. Bell then injured his hamstring in Week 1 against the Bills and missed the next three games.
Gase said he had yet to speak with Bell about his social media pity party, but said he understood why players get frustrated, especially at 0-5. It is the way Bell chose to deliver the message that chafed Gase.
“I hate that that’s the route that we go with all this instead of just talking to me about it,” Gase said. “It seems that’s the way guys want to do it nowadays.”
Here is what GM Joe Douglas should do: Grant Bell his wish. Douglas should put the “For Sale” sign on this bad purchase. Go to the NFL version of eBay and call up his 31 counterparts, asking for their best offer for Bell.
It is not an easy sell. This is no longer the player we watched with the Steelers who looked like he was on track for the Hall of Fame. Watch him on the third-and-1 pitch on Sunday and see how slow he looks hitting the edge. Maybe it was overuse in Pittsburgh or his year off in 2018 or just being a 28-year-old back instead of a 25-year-old one, but Bell is not what he was.
The Jets have two weeks remaining before the Oct. 29 trade deadline. He will be owed a little more than $5 million of his $8.5 million salary at that time. No team is going to take on $5 million for Bell, but the Jets should eat a portion of that and take whatever they can get for him. If that is a seventh-round pick, sold.
Right now, Bell is a better blocker than a runner … as in he is blocking rookie La’Mical Perine from getting on the field. Perine played zero offensive snaps Sunday. Bell played 45, rushing for 60 yards on 13 carries. He was upset because he got only one pass thrown his way. He also committed a holding penalty and failed to run a strong rub route on a third-and-1 pass to the end zone by Joe Flacco.
The Jets need to get Perine on the field. He is one of the few explosive players they have, and the rest of this season needs to be about figuring out who is part of the foundation of the rebuild going forward and who is not. Bell and 37-year-old Frank Gore are not. We’ve seen enough of them.
Gase hinted that he does not completely trust Perine yet.
“We want to make sure that he’s put in a good position to where he can grow,” he said. “We just don’t want to put too much on his plate too fast and kind of really stunt his growth at all.”
Hooey. This is not a rookie quarterback who needs time to learn. Running backs excel as rookies all the time. Play the kid.
And when it comes to Bell, it reminds me of a line former Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff used, “I would trade him for a night off.”
You get the sense that is where the Jets are getting with Bell.
Eventually after you make a bad purchase, you realize there comes a time you just put it on the curb and maybe someone will take it.