Considering that Le'Veon Bell was signed by Joe Douglas’ predecessor as general manager, Mike Maccagnan, the organizational ties to the Pro Bowl running back are certainly limited. At the end of the day, Bell could be trade bait if the Jets don’t prioritize a high-end running back in their offense or are looking to clear more cap space.
Several weeks ago, a report said that the Jets would enter the offseason looking to trade Bell. On Monday, head coach Adam Gase deferred to Douglas’ availability on Tuesday when asked about Bell’s future with the Jets.
So on Tuesday, Douglas fielded several questions about Bell being with the Jets in 2020. In particular, if the Jets would be open to a trade.
“Like I said before, if teams do call, I'm going to listen,” Douglas said on Tuesday at the team’s facility.
“How those conversations go, I can't speak to that, that's hypothetical. But, when teams call, I will listen.”
Last offseason as a free agent, Bell signed a four-year, $52.5 million contract with the Jets. It all makes for an interesting scenario for the Jets and certainly Bell. The Jets don’t have a tremendous amount of depth at the running back position and could certainly use a playmaker at the spot. But the investment in Bell undoubtedly demands a return higher than seen this year, an indictment on the running back softened by the fact that the Jets offensive line certainly did not aid in his production or lack thereof this year.
Douglas was asked on Tuesday if he wanted Bell back next year. As he did with Jamal Adams when asked about a contraction extension for his Pro Bowl safety, Douglas talked about the positive virtues of the player.
In the case of Adams, the team’s unquestioned best player (and only Pro Bowl selection), and in Bell, Douglas refused to touch on the future.
“So, my personal experience with Le'Veon has been very positive. He's done everything we've asked him to do as a person, as a teammate,” Douglas said.
“I touched on it last time I talked to you guys, he's one of our best workers, he's one of our best teammates, he connects and engages with everybody. So, I can't say enough positive things about Le'Veon.”