The New York Jets shocked the NFL world yesterday, releasing running back Le’Veon Bell late into the night. The Jets reportedly tried to find a trade partner for Bell, but couldn’t identify a market. However, this doesn’t mean Bell will be permanently out of the job. Now that teams don’t have to give up draft capital for a massive contract, Bell’s market should explode. The only question is who will be the team to sign him?
Le’Veon Bell Potential Team Destinations
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need a running back that can actually catch the ball. LeSean McCoy and Leonard Fournette are battling injury, and both players aren’t anything special as receivers at this point in their careers. Ke’Shawn Vaughn hasn’t done anything to impress while Ronald Jones is strictly an early-down guy.
Tom Brady has been attacking the deep part of the field, but he still needs a reliable underneath option in the passing game. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Scotty Miller are all battling injuries, and Brady needs someone that can make plays in the open field. Bell is probably the best option available and would probably love to join a legitimate championship contender.
New York Giants
Nobody loves running backs more than Dave Gettleman and the New York Giants. With Saquon Barkley out for the season, the Giants lack the stapled three-down workhorse. Bell certainly isn’t the player he once was, but he’s a clear upgrade on Devonta Freeman, Wayne Gallman, and Dion Lewis. On top of that, Gettleman and company probably believe that a big investment in the running game could help the development of Daniel Jones.
The biggest obstacle here is New York’s record. The Giants are currently 0-5 and stand a much better shot at the first overall pick than a spot in the playoffs. With all else being equal, it’s hard to imagine Bell choosing to go to a bad team with an atrocious offensive line.
Despite all odds, the Chicago Bears somehow enter Week 6 with an impressive 4-1 record. While the underlying efficiency numbers suggest they can’t keep this up, the fact remains that they are in the thick of the playoff race moving forward. David Montgomery hasn’t proven capable of overcoming terrible blocking, and the team could probably use another back after losing Tarik Cohen for the season. If Bell signs here, he’ll likely be the starter while Montgomery handles backup duties.
New England Patriots
Throughout the course of his career in New England, Bill Belichick has always believed in doing his due diligence and kicking the tires on low-cost, high-ceiling veterans. Bell certainly fits the bill there, and it’s easy to imagine Belichick kicking the tires on the former superstar. This is a crowded backfield, as James White, Rex Burkhead, and Damien Harris all have established roles on this team. However, there’s no such thing as too much talent, and Belichick values depth more than just about every coach in the league. If Bell lands here, they’ll find a way to work it out.
This one is admittedly a longshot, but it’s possible to see Le’Veon Bell end up in Philadelphia. Miles Sanders has been the unquestioned starter during 2020, but that’s mostly been due to a lack of options. The team lost Jordan Howard in free agency and only have Boston Scott as a reliable backup. Throughout the offseason, the team reportedly tried to acquire Devonta Freeman, Carlos Hyde, and Leonard Fournette. However, for one reason or another, each deal fell through. Bell is more talented than any of the aforementioned players and would certainly eat into Sanders’ workload if signed.