The Jets announced that they will release Le’Veon Bell from his contract on Tuesday night. The release is now official, and the former All-Pro running back is free to sign with any team.
“After having conversations with Le’Veon and his agent and exploring potential trade options over the past couple of days, we have made the decision to release Le’Veon,” the team said in a Tuesday night statement. “The Jets organization appreciates Le’Veon’s efforts during his time here and we know he worked hard to make significant contributions to this team. We believe this decision is in the best interests of both parties and wish him future success.”
The Jets signed Bell to a four-year, $52.5MM free agent deal in the 2019 offseason. A few months later, they fired GM Mike Maccagnan. Then, before the trade deadline in October, new GM Joe Douglas attempted to trade him. There were no viable deals then, and there were no takers this time around. The Jets were willing to eat some of the $6MM left on this year’s base salary, but teams were warded off by Bell’s $8MM injury guarantee, plus a number of other red flags.
Last year, Bell averaged a career-low 3.2 yards per carry. Gase and Bell butted heads throughout the season, which saw the multiple-time Pro Bowler put up the worst numbers of his career. Bell ran for just 789 yards and three touchdowns on 229 carries – that comes out to just 3.3 yards per tote, a sharp contrast from his best work in Pittsburgh, which included back-to-back 4.9-yard averages. His 66 catches for 461 yards and one score weren’t too shabby, but that’s still a notch or two below expectations. With the Steelers, Bell averaged 8.5 yards per reception and averaged 80 grabs in each of his final two seasons with his former team. Soon, Bell will have an opportunity to start fresh with his third pro team.
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