For a player without a major injury, Le’Veon Bell has gone through a historically light amount of organized football work over the past 19 months. Bell’s game-action delay will continue until Week 1, with Adam Gase indicating (via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, on Twitter) his top running back will be held out from Jets preseason games. Bell has not played in a game since the Steelers’ divisional-round loss to the Jaguars in January 2018. His most recent regular-season game was Week 16 of that season. Gase had slammed the door nearly shut on Bell seeing preseason reps, but the first-year Jets coach said Avery Williamson‘s season-ending injury finalized that conversation (Twitter link via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano). For a player who based his ’18 holdout on conservation, this should go along well with his late-2010s M.O.
Here is the Jets latest:
- Despite the Jets devoting extensive resources to positions that are not typically tabbed as high-value areas, with Bell and C.J. Mosley making out great in free agency, the team largely left its persistent need for edge rushers alone. While Jadeveon Clowney would obviously start for the Jets, were they to make a move for the disgruntled Texans outside linebacker, Cimini writes no trade should be expected. A way it could work: the Jets trade a mid-round pick — worse value than the Texans would have received before the franchise tag extension deadline — and then flip Clowney in a 2020 tag-and-trade. The Jets hold $14.7MM in cap space, so they would have to perform some slight reorganization mechanisms to fit Clowney’s $15.9MM cap figure on their books. For now, the team will head into another season with Brandon Copeland and Jordan Jenkins on the edge.
- On the inside, Neville Hewitt received the first crack at replacing Williamson. At the Jets’ Green and White scrimmage Sunday night, the four-year veteran — who played 16 Jets games (four starts) last season — lined up in Williamson’s inside ‘backer spot, per Vacchiano (on Twitter). Hewitt’s high-water mark for starts came with the Dolphins in 2016, when the former Miami UDFA started five games.
- It still appears Bilal Powell, Trenton Cannon and Eli McGuire are competing for two spots. Although the Jets re-signed Powell this offseason, the 30-year-old not playing special teams stands to work against him, Cimini writes. Cannon remains the leading Jets kick-return candidate, pointing to a Bell-McGuire duel for New York’s final running back slot. McGuire is not a key Jets special-teamer, either, and only averaged 3.0 yards per carry last season.
- Trumaine Johnson‘s adjusted timetable: Week 1. Gase said he is targeting his top cornerback for a return in time for the Jets’ opener. Johnson is dealing with a hamstring injury. He missed six games with leg trouble last year.
- Not that Ryan Kalil‘s timetable is in question, but the recently signed center had yet to practice with his new team. The Jets deployed him with their first unit (which had some second-stringers sprinkled in) on Sunday night, Cimini adds (via Twitter). The former Panthers snapper has started in the past 12 Week 1s.