Le'Veon Bell

AFC East Notes: Bell, Bills, Cannon, Dolphins

At last, a piece of good news for the Jets. It appears Le’Veon Bell‘s MRI came back clean, with ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler tweeting the exam showed no tears or notable damage in Bell’s injured shoulder. Bell played every Jets offensive snap Sunday, and Jets doctors felt the veteran running back would need more than just a couple days’ rest to surmount this shoulder setback. But this MRI looks to be a good sign for his availability Monday night against the Browns. Should Bell play, he will be taking handoffs from Trevor Siemian. Sam Darnold is out with mono.

Let’s look at the latest from the other AFC East teams:

  • Marcus Cannon left Sunday night’s Patriots win because of a shoulder injury and may miss time. New England’s starting right tackle underwent tests this week, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com, who adds this injury is not believed to be a long-term setback. Cannon is practicing on a limited basis. Guard Joe Thuney moved to right tackle against the Steelers, but Reiss adds swing tackle Korey Cunningham may draw that assignment against the Dolphins (Twitter links). Cunningham was inactive in Week 1. The Pats just signed Marshall Newhouse as well, pointing to a possible Cannon absence in Miami.
  • Teams have been monitoring the Dolphins‘ situation regarding trades, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes GMs have been calling Chris Grier about potential deals. The Dolphins have traded Laremy Tunsil, Kenny Stills, Ryan Tannehill and Robert Quinn this year. However, there is not much left in terms of trade assets on the roster, at least among players the Dolphins would be willing to deal.
  • Bills linebacker Tyrel Dodson drew a six-game suspension Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Dodson, a rookie UDFA who has resided on the commissioner’s exempt list, was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge in May.

Jets’ Le’Veon Bell Undergoing MRI

Jets running back Le’Veon Bell is undergoing an MRI on his shoulder, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Between this, and other maladies suffered by key players, Gang Green is not off to a rollicking start in 2019. 

[RELATED: Jets’ Sam Darnold Won’t Play Vs. Browns]

Bell has been dealing with soreness in his shoulder and doctors fear that it may require more than just a couple days of rest. After the MRI, the team should have a clearer picture of when Bell will be able to suit up again.

Earlier today, the Jets also announced that Sam Darnold will miss Monday night’s game against the Browns after being diagnosed with mono. It’s possible that he could miss even more time than that, depending on how quickly he recovers.

On top of that, the Jets were without linebacker C.J. Mosley (groin) and Quinnen Williams (ankle) in practice on Thursday. Between all of those question marks, and season-ending injuries for wide receiver Quincy Enunwa and linebacker Avery Williamson, the Jets’ season already appears to be in peril.

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Jets Notes: Bell, Clowney, Johnson, Kalil, LBs

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.

AFC East Notes: Bell, Bills, Flores

The Bell has rung. As Rich Cimini of ESPN.com tweets, Le’Veon Bell has arrived at the Jets‘ facility in advance of tomorrow’s mandatory minicamp. There was never a chance that Bell would fail to show up for minicamp, but given the drama that has followed him from Pittsburgh to New York, it’s still noteworthy, if for no other reason than to see how he will interact with new head coach Adam Gase.

Now for several more items from the AFC East:

  • Speaking at Jim Kelly‘s annual charity golf tournament this morning, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he believes that a new stadium is essential to the stability of a franchise (via Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic). With respect to the Bills specifically, Goodell made it very clear that team ownership will need to address the club’s stadium situation at some point in the near future to keep the Bills in Buffalo. Goodell has made similar remarks in the past, but the article — which includes more of Goodell’s comments — are well worth a read for Bills fans, as it also details the unique challenges that ownership faces in meeting Goodell’s demands.
  • Brian Flores is making a strong first impression with the Dolphins, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. A number of players are less than keen on the old-school mentality and the demanding nature of the new coaching staff, but others are enjoying it, and Flores himself has drawn rave reviews. Players have lauded the rookie head coach both publicly and privately, which is a bit more meaningful for Flores than it might be for another HC. The Dolphins are in full rebuild mode, so Flores will be judged not necessarily on wins and losses — at least not for a year or two — but on how his players respond to him and compete for him.
  • In the same piece linked above, Jackson notes that the Dolphins are taking a wait-and-see approach with several players entering the final years of their contracts like RB Kenyan Drake and WR Jakeem Grant.

Adam Gase Talks Front Office, Bell, Darnold

Adam Gase was named as the Jets’ new head coach back in January, and we’re confident that the 41-year-old had no idea how the next few months would unfold.

While the team seemingly did a nice job of utilizing their draft picks and abundance of cap space, their front office is in a bit of turmoil. The organization moved on from general manager Mike Maccagnan earlier this month, and Gase subsequently earned the interim GM tag. Since that time, the head coach has made several notable roster moves, including his decision to move on from a pair of former draft picks (tight end Jordan Leggett and linebacker Darron Lee).

Gase recently sat down with Albert Breer of SI.com to discuss the organization’s search for a new GM, his outlook for the season, and his thoughts on some of the team’s notable free agent additions. The entire article is worth a read, but we’ve compiled some relevant soundbites below:

On his role in finding a replacement for Maccagnan:

Christopher [Johnson]’s making the decision. There are a couple of us that are trying to help put the right type of guys in front of him. And the biggest thing, you’re looking for a guy that has leadership qualities. … [But] that has to be both of us [as GM and coach]. We both have to do it. We got to work together to accomplish that. It’s been a while—eight years since they made the playoffs. It’s been a while.

“There are a lot of people here that haven’t experienced that yet.”

On the Jets signing free agent linebacker C.J. Mosley:

“His reputation is no secret around the NFL. People know. Eric Weddle actually texted me when we were in free agency and laid it out—‘Do whatever you gotta do to get this guy, this guy is a stud.’ [Weddle] had just signed with L.A., and it was great to get confirmation on the things we’d already heard.”

On second-year quarterback Sam Darnold:

“When you watch him just throw, anyone can watch him throw and go, ‘that guy can throw the football. I think the side that I didn’t know as much, and I’ve seen it since I’ve been here, is how competitive he is as far as learning football. He wants to be as good as he can be. He wants to be a great player. And you can tell by his work ethic, that’s what he wants to do. He’s not just talking the talk.”

On the addition of running back Le’Veon Bell, who Gase was reportedly against signing:

“I think he’s very motivated to do well and help this team win. And I think the more people keep talking, the more he keeps putting his head down and working. For me, I’ve combed through a lot of the things he’s done in Pittsburgh to make sure I really understands what he loves doing, and make sure we do a good job of building this offense, because it’s very fluid and flexible, it’s chameleon-like.”

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Jets Won’t Try To Trade Le’Veon Bell

Jets head coach/interim GM Adam Gase didn’t want the team to sign Le’Veon Bell this offseason, but that doesn’t mean they’ll try to trade him just months after inking him to a four-year, $52.5MM contract. When asked about the possibility via text, a team source replied to SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano with a flat “No.” 

This should come as no real surprise – the Jets have already paid out $12MM in bonuses to Bell and that’s money that could not be recouped in the event of a trade. Meanwhile, any team acquiring Bell would only be on the hook for $40MM over four years with $13MM remaining in guarantees.

Hypothetically, that would make Bell more attractive to other clubs, but it’s hard to see the Jets getting an offer strong enough to justify that financial hit. In all likelihood, shopping Bell would not result in a trade and would only serve to create a divide between the club and its best playmaker. That would be a disaster for the Jets, especially since Bell is already aware of Gase’s opposition to his signing.

Over the weekend, Veteran NFL reporter John Clayton said that he could “absolutely see” the Jets trading Bell before the start of the season, but it’s hard for us to imagine such a scenario. Moving Bell would leave the Jets with unproven options like Elijah McGuire and Ty Montgomery in the backfield and make the Jets look even more foolish in the midst of a bizarre turnover.

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Latest On Jets’ Star Players, GM Search

Rich Cimini of ESPN.com passes along a number of interesting notes about the Jets this morning, including a few thoughts and reports on the futures of certain key players and the team’s hunt for a new GM.

For instance, Cimini reports that there is already speculation in league circles that head coach/interim GM Adam Gase is looking to move on from defensive lineman Leonard Williams. That does not mean that Gase wants to trade or cut Williams in 2019, but it sounds as though the new regime would be perfectly willing to allow Williams to sign elsewhere when he becomes a free agent at the end of the year. Cimini suggests that the club could franchise tag Williams or execute a tag-and-trade, but a long-term deal with the Jets does not seem likely at this point.

With respect to Le’Veon Bell, whose signing was a factor in the deteriorating relationship between Gase and former GM Mike Maccagnan, Cimini says it would not be surprising to see the Jets trade Bell after the 2019 season. If they cannot find a trade partner, then Bell can easily be cut after the 2020 season, when all of his guaranteed money will have been paid.

Robby Anderson‘s future with the club is more straightforward. Gase appreciates Anderson’s talent, and if the big-play wideout has a strong 2019, he could be back with Gang Green on a multi-year pact. If he disappoints, he will be gone.

And as far as the club’s GM search is concerned, Cimini says that the rumors connecting Peyton Manning to the job have no substance and that Manning is not on the Jets’ radar at the moment (which jibes with a report from yesterday). Cimini also hears that Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas remains the odds-on favorite for the job. Douglas has been billed as the front-runner since Maccagnan was fired.

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Jets Le’Veon Bell, HC Adam Gase In Contact

New Jets head coach (and interim GM) may not have wanted Le’Veon Bell, but the two have been in constant contact this offseason, a source tells Brian Costello of the New York Post. Furthermore, Costello hears the conversations have been positive. 

[RELATED: Gase Didn’t Want Jets To Sign Bell]

Armed with $100MM+ in cap space, the Jets used a big chunk of their available money to ink the running back to a four-year, $52MM deal. Gase didn’t want the club to spend big bucks on any rusher, but GM Mike Maccagnan got his way and landed one of the league’s most dynamic offensive talents with an average annual value of $13MM. This week, the Jets sacked Maccagnan in a curiously-timed move.

Meanwhile, Bell seems committed to making the relationship with Gase work.

There’s been a bunch of false reports and speculation about me in the past about things I’ve said and done, so I’m used to this,” Bell tweeted earlier this week. “I don’t jump to conclusions when I hear or see a story that may affect me. Even if reports are true, that won’t stop me from doing what I came here to do…everyone has a job to do, and I’m gonna do mine whether people “like” me or not. I’m here to win football games.”

Bell and Gase have little choice in the matter as both men are set to be together through at least the 2022 season. The running back did not show for the start of the Jets’ voluntary workouts in May, but he is expected to arrive for mandatory minicamp in June.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets’ Adam Gase Didn’t Want Le’Veon Bell

Try this one on for size – the Jets’ new head coach and recently appointed interim GM Adam Gase “absolutely” did not want the team to sign running back Le’Veon Bell this offseason, according to Manish Mehta of the Daily News (on Twitter). Of course, he lost that battle, as Mike Maccagnan inked Bell to a four-year, $52MM contract. 

[RELATED: Jets Fire GM Mike Maccagnan]

There were previous rumblings that Gase wasn’t thrilled about the Bell expenditure, but that came with further word that Gase’s dissatisfaction with the Bell signing and Maccagnan on the whole was “overblown.” Now that the Jets have canned Maccagnan, we know that the Gase-Maccagnan beef was real, and that likely goes for disagreement over the Bell signing as well.

Gase wasn’t just opposed to signing Bell – Mehta hears he didn’t want to spend a lot of money on any running back. Regardless, the two are tied together for the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile, Gase’s preferred choice to be the next Jets general manager is Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas, Mehta hears (on Twitter). Douglas and Gase have history together dating back to their time with the Bears and he’s already said to be a top candidate for the job.

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Bell Plans To Report To Jets Minicamp

Le’Veon Bell has not made an appearance at a minicamp or training camp since 2016, and he is now away from the team that doled out the contract he sought for years. It appears, however, the Jets’ recently signed running back does plan to suit up in practice gear for his team fairly soon.

Bell has skipped the Jets’ voluntary portion of the offseason so far, opting to train on his own. But Adam Gase expects him to show for their minicamp. The mandatory workouts run from June 4-6.

We had a conversation about what was kind of his schedule,” Gase said, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “We’ll kind of see how the OTAs go. As of right now, I know the mandatory stuff … he said he was going to be here for that. So, I don’t expect him to not show up for (minicamp).”

Despite the Jets’ public stance being they are OK with Bell skipping their offseason program so far, Mehta notes they are not exactly pleased by this development.

Bell in 2017 earned All-Pro honors despite missing the entire Steelers offseason program, during his first franchise-tagged season, but he obviously had far more familiarity with Pittsburgh’s offense than the does with his new team’s. Every other Jets starter has reported for the team’s offseason program. Bell skipped last season and made it to free agency, signing a four-year, $52MM Jets contract.

When it’s time to play football,” Bell wrote (via Instagram) when asked when he will show up. “I got to stick to the formula that I know works for me to be the best player I can be…I’m not just tryna win football games; I want a ring! I want to desperately show everybody what I can what I can REALLY do…I’ll take the heat right now. Everybody will forget about that once January comes around.”

Gase and GM Mike Maccagnan were apparently not on the same page when it came to how much to pay Bell, but the Jets are committed to him now. It sounds like their best chance of getting their first glimpse of their new starting running back will come next month.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.