When former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell was looking for a new team during free agency, his prerequisites were a record breaking contract, anyone but the New York Jets and a team that would show him the love he had failed to receive in Pittsburgh. And while it was clear he had failed with the first two criteria, it was presumed he had at least found a franchise that wanted him.
However, if a recent report from Jets beat reporter Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News is to be believed, Bell might not be as welcome in New York as you would expect.
One disagreement between Adam Gase and Mike Maccagnan/Christopher Johnson...— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) May 15, 2019
Gase absolutely did not want to sign Le’Veon Bell, per sources. In fact, he made it clear that he didn’t want to spend a lot of money on any running back.
With Mehat revealing that the decision to sign Bell was made by the now fired general manager Mike Maccagnan against the wishes of head coach Adam Gase, it would be fair to question how loing Bell will last in New York now that the GM who supported his addition has been shown the door.
It is also interesting to note that one of the most notable free agent signings the Jets have made in the last few years has in part resulted in ownership firing the man responsible for the move.
Bell hoped to sign the largest deal ever offered to an NFL running back when he rejected the Steelers 5-year $70 million contract in 2018, but ultimately settled for far less with the Jets when they emerged as the only team willing to come close to his contract demands. Had interim GM and current head coach Gase been in full control back then, it seems fair to say that Bell would never have been a Jet at all.
So Le'Veon Bell walked away from $14.5 million last year with a coach that wanted him and now will play for $14.5 million this year with a coach that doesn't want him. Got it. #Jets— Andrew Brandt (@AndrewBrandt) May 15, 2019
Contrary to initial reports, the guarantees attached to Bell’s deal are far less generous than first believed and the running back could easily be released in 2021 with a dead money charge of just $4 million against cap savings of $11.5 million.
After years of creating drama in Pittsburgh, it has only taken Bell a few months to become the center of a fresh drama with the Jets, albeit not entirely of his own making. His decision to skip voluntary OTAs was not especially well received in some quarters of the New York media and it can only be wondered how this move sat with ownership in light of the relatively large sum Maccagnan persuaded them to give him a few months ago.
In typical fashion, the former Steelers running back was unable to stop himself from commentating on the story circulating about him by Wednesday evening. Taking to social media to initially cry fake news, Bell did his best to convince fans that it did not matter to him if he was liked or not.
Even if reports are true, that won’t stop me from doing what I came here to do...everyone has a job to do, and I’m gonna do mine whether peopIe “like” me or not. I’m here to win football games.— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) May 16, 2019
Those who followed Bell on social media during his six years with the Steelers will know how completely false that last statement is. If truth be told, few Pittsburgh players in recent years have seemed to care so much about how they are perceived by their teammates and the fans than Bell, with the possible exception of Brown.