The New York Jets are reportedly looking to trade running back Le'Veon Bell. Given how horrible they've been, that makes complete sense. Bell is a bad fit on the current roster. But with his big contract and history of criticizing the franchises he plays for, the Jets will struggle to find a trade partner.
When Bell signed a four-year, $52 million contract ($35 million guaranteed) with the Jets back in 2019, the deal made little sense. New York was a long way from contending and making Bell the second-highest paid running back in the NFL didn't solve any of its biggest roster problems. It got even worse as Bell's relationship with coach Adam Gase deteriorated.
In 2019, Bell rushed for 789 yards on 245 carries, averaging a career-low 3.2 yards per carry. He only scored three touchdowns on the ground, adding one receiving score as well. In two games this season he's tallied 74 yards on 19 carries (3.9 yards per carry) and no touchdowns. He's been an average back at best and a complete bust at worst.
From 2014-2017, Bell was among the most dynamic playmakers in the NFL. He was a three-time All-Pro with the Pittsburgh Steelers and was a cornerstone of the franchise. That came to an end when he held out for all of the 2018 season while waiting for a contract extension. It never came from Pittsburgh and the Jets scooped him up in free agency. He hasn't been the same back since.
There is an out in Bell's contract after this season but it would carry $4 million in dead cap money. If he were to be traded, he's due $24.5 million over the next two seasons. If Bell wanted to facilitate a trade he may have to restructure his contract to accommodate a new team. He likely would do so to get away from the Jets and play for a new team that could use him.
The problem with moving Bell is that no one is willing to spend money on running backs these days. Sure, he used to be a multifaceted weapon, but his best days appear to be behind him. His burst and the quickness of his cuts have regressed. Who out there is going to pay big money for that? Who would give up an asset to do so? It's hard to see it happening unless there is a devastating injury.
Similar to the Texans trading away a second-round pick in addition to Brock Osweiler to get him off their books, the Jets shouldn't expect anything but salary relief in exchange for the 28-year-old back if they can even find that.