The LeVeon Bell saga appears to be ending with the news that he’s accepted a 4 year, $52.5 million contract with the New York Jets. There has been a lot of debate about who the winners and losers are in this deal, so here is my take.
Winner, LeVeon Bell: Ok so sitting out last year cost him $14 million and the contract that the Steelers offered would have been closer to that number over the next 3 seasons too, but ultimately Bell didn’t want to stay in Pittsburgh and he has managed to walk away, maintain his health and join a team thats re-tooling for a run at the post-season under a highly regarded head coach and a talented QB. He has left behind a team that seems in perpetual inner-turmoil, a H.C who is more cheerleader than Xs and O’s and a locker-room run by a QB who seemingly puts himself before others. He’s also moved to the bright-lights of NYC where stars are made and rappers and loved…
Winner, Sam Darnold: Darnold went 17-15 Tds to picks last season in an offence that would be best described as stagnant. This wasn’t helped by an injury to no.1 RB Isaiah Crowell who missed significant game-time. Crowell managed 600+ yards rushing but only 150 receiving from 13 games (6 starts). Bell provides and instant upgarde with 1200+ rushing yards in 3 of his 5 seasons and around 500 receiving yards per-season on average.
Losers, Teams with unhappy players: The Bell move (leave it), along with that of Antonio Brown goes to show how much leverage players now have in order to force moves away from teams. With squad space limited and spending money capped no one can afford to carry a player who may elect to not show up. Player power isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, but we surely dont want to risk NBA-style moves where star players get together and decide amongst themselves where they’d like to congregate.
Loser, Possibly the Jets: Ok, so there is no doubt that Bell makes this team better from day one. But lets not forget what got us to this point. LeVeon wasn’t happy with being over-used in Pittsbugh, where he had over 400 touches in 2017, his body is his money-making tool and he wants to prolong his career to collect the maximum he can from it whilst still being healthy enough to enjoy his eventual retirement. So, lets say Adam Gase and co are struggling to put up 24+ points per game through Darnold and the WR corps, they’ll turn to their stud RB to drive the game, and all of a sudden Bell is into 20 carries and 6 receptions per game. Thats the wear-and tear scenario he wanted to avoid, why wouldn’t he be outspoken about this, he’s got form. Bell has also not played on a team where losing is the norm. If the Jets go 5-11 or 6-10 does he have the right attitude to cope with the lack of success? Either or both of these issues could derail a promising move very quickly.
Categories: Free Agency