Le’Veon Bell’s tenure with the New York Jets is over, the organization releasing him on Thursday night following some not-so-subtle theatrics taken by the All-Pro running back at the team in recent days.
A relationship that always seemed destined for failure did in fact fall apart following Bell’s use of social media to take veiled shots at the Jets following a Week 5 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. In the 30-10 loss, Bell ran for 60 yards on 13 carries and had one catch for seven yards. The lack of touches was appalling given that the Jets were struggling to move the ball and Bell is a playmaker when he is in the open field.
Bell took to social media after the game and ‘liked’ several posts from Jets fans who were upset about the running back’s lack of inclusion in the offense. Some of the tweets that Bell ‘liked’ included references to the Jets trading him.
At the end of the day, there was no trade, despite rumors that surfaced in the afternoon that the Jets were seeking to ship Bell out of town.
Week 5 was Bell’s first action since suffering a hamstring injury in the season opener. In two games he had 113 yards from scrimmage but was largely ignored as a part of the greater offense, a surprise given that Bell has the ability to break open plays if utilized correctly.
The Jets will be on the books for Bell’s $15 million in salary cap space this year and will pay the remaining $4 million in guaranteed money next year.
Twitter spats and publicly voicing displeasure at the team seems to be one way for players to get off the 0-5 Jets. Earlier this summer, safety Jamal Adams took a series of very public shots at the team, ownership and head coach Adam Gase. In late July before the start of training camp, Adams was traded to the Seattle Seahawks.
Ironically, hours after that trade, it was Bell who went on Twitter and lashed out at Adams for how he handled the situation and his dispute with the Jets. Now it is Bell getting the boot after following a very similar course of action.
In 2019, his first year with the Jets after signing a four-year, $52.5 million contract last offseason, Bell rushed for just 789 yards and three rushing touchdowns. His 3.2 yards per carry and 52.6 rushing yards per game were both career lows.
Bell had spent his five previous playing seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers where he was three times a Pro Bowl selection and twice named an All-Pro.