The Jets are parting ways with Le’Veon Bell, as they will release the former star and opt to pay him the remainder of his salary this season ($6 million) to have him play elsewhere.
New York explored a trade for Bell, who is the second year of a four-year, $52 million deal, but found no takers for his contract. Bell will finish his Jets career with 264 carries and 69 receptions for a total of 1363 yards and four touchdowns.
Through five weeks, only four teams are behind the Jets in rushing efficiency, per Football Outsiders’ DVOA (Bills, Giants, Chargers, Bengals), which is something that contributed to his struggles this year. Any team that signs Bell will hope that it was simply a bad fit for him with the Jets and they can help rejuvenate Bell’s skills in their own system.
Chicago stands out as a strong destination for Bell; same with Kansas City. Bell signing in either city would drastically deflate the values of their incumbent top running backs (David Montgomery and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, respectively). Tampa Bay is another destination I would keep an eye on. The Bucs still haven’t found an effective receiver out of the backfield for Tom Brady and Leonard Fournette‘s health concerns could propel the team to take a flyer on Bell.
Jets Running Back Depth Chart
Starter: Frank Gore will start for New York and while he’s not a viable long-term fantasy asset, this week’s matchup with the Dolphins (dead last in rushing defense, per DVOA) creates streamer value.
Second: Rookie La’Mical Perine didn’t see any against the Cardinals on Sunday with Bell in uniform. The No. 120 overall pick in the 2020 draft has six offensive touches on the year for a total of 14 yards. He’s worth a speculative add, though he’s far from a sure thing even with a relatively easy path to this starting gig by season’s end.
Third/Wild Card: Ty Johnson, a former highly-touted Maryland Terrapin, showed flashes with the Lions last year and he’d be my pick if I was really short on running backs and needed to take a flyer in this offense (hopefully, you are not in this situation so early in the 2020 campaign).