Throughout the much of the 2019 season, there were many questions concerning star running back Le’Veon Bell‘s long-term future with the New York Jets. There are apparent internal issues that have flared up from head coach Adam Gase, who wasn’t a big fan of the massive contract that the Jets worked out with the Pro Bowler. In light of that lingering tension, general manager Joe Douglas has cleared up any doubt around where Bell stands at with New York moving forward.
Le’Veon Bell’s 2019 season
Following missing the entire 2018 campaign due to a contract dispute with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bell got a fresh start last offseason after inking a four-year, $52.5 million deal with $35 million guaranteed in free agency with the Jets.
His addition created plenty of optimism around the team, but it wound up being a tough season in his return as he finished 23rd in the league with 789 rushing yards on a career-low 3.2 yards per carry along with only four total touchdowns. Bell did tally 66 catches on 78 targets for 461 receiving yards.
The 28-year-old’s production wasn’t anywhere near what was expected as he didn’t even crack more than 90 rushing yards in any game in 2019. That led to rumors surfacing before the trade deadline that he was potentially available.
Although Bell remained with the team past the deadline, the chatter around his long-term future persisted. That’s especially the case due to Gase’s continued non-committal feelings about the star running back’s role on the team. All of that has led to the Jets finally making a firm stance on Bell’s standing with the franchise.
Joe Douglas discusses Le’Veon Bell’s future with Jets
Throughout the entire process, Bell has stayed vocal about his desire to remain with the Jets through their current rebuild. However, the lack of backing from Gase has created the sense that he could be on his way out well before the final three years of his deal are completed.
General manager Joe Douglas has once again chimed in on the matter as he stated on Tuesday that the Jets are committed to their star running back. Douglas’ comments should at least quiet things on that front throughout the offseason as that clarifies that he’s a central piece of the puzzle offensively.
That may not have the ringing endorsement from Gase, but it does show that management has no desire to move on from Bell. That should shift gears towards the team, adding more pieces to the puzzle this offseason to help their offense get on track around third-year quarterback Sam Darnold.
There is much that could change over the coming months, but it also puts pressure on Bell to bounce back after an atrocious first campaign in New York.
Le’Veon Bell eyeing bounce-back 2020 season
The Jets committed to the massive deal with Bell with the notion that he would return to performing like the top running back in the league. That wasn’t the case by any means last year, but the 2020 campaign provides him a chance to get back on track.
Some reports recently surfaced that the Jets believed his weight gain had negatively impacted him in 2019. Bell will have the entire offseason to get right physically to put him on the path of putting forth a strong season.
Bell has proven in his career that he can be a high-impact player that was previously regarded as being the best all-around running back in the NFL. He will have the chance to showcase as the primary feature in the backfield, which his play could be pivotal to helping New York take a significant step forward offensively next season.
Ultimately, the 2020 season is a prime opportunity for Bell to prove he’s still at the top of his game.