The team most closely connected to Le’Veon Bell this offseason has given the running back a deadline to determine if he will or will not sign. The Jets have notified the All-Pro back of a deadline, per The Athletic’s Connor Hughes (on Twitter).
Gang Green has plenty of cap space to outmuscle others on this market, and with the Ravens potentially set to bow out, the Jets’ offer may be the best one out there for Bell. But nothing concrete has emerged from about how much the Jets are proposing yet.
Bell maneuvered his way to the market by becoming the first player in 20 years to sit out a full season after being franchise-tagged. He watched Todd Gurley and David Johnson each reshape the running back market, with each signing for at least $13MM per year. Both of those backs have far less mileage on their NFL odometers, which will make Bell’s pact interesting — especially given how much he has prepared for this week.
The Jets have been the team most consistently and heavily linked to Bell over the past handful of months, but the Ravens were believed to be making a late push and coming on strong. But we also just heard the Ravens were the “frontrunners” to sign Mark Ingram, which could limit their willingness to compete with the Jets for Bell.
Bell opting for another team would remind of the Jets’ 2018 Kirk Cousins pursuit, which involved a better offer than the Vikings submitted. Cousins revealed the Jets were the leverage team that drove up the Vikings’ price. It is unclear, however, if another team will enter the Jets’ ballpark for Bell.
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