If the Jets look to unload Le’Veon Bell this season, these five teams could be in the mix.
After sitting out a year, Le’Veon Bell signed a four-year $52.5 million contract ($27 million guaranteed) with the New York Jets. Then, he promptly delivered the worst season of his career with 245 carries for 789 yards (3.2 yards per carry) and three touchdowns in 15 games.
Bell did produce as pass catcher in 2019, with 66 receptions on 78 targets. But Jets’ head coach Adam Gase apparently didn’t want him in free agency, and the team was reportedly looking to move him at last year’s trade deadline. That didn’t happen, but trade speculation never seems too far away from Bell.
According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, the Jets may shop Bell again at this year’s trade deadline if they are out of contention. Any idea of trading Bell requires a closer look at his contract, and the implications. So let’s do that.
According to Over The Cap, trading Bell right now (after June 1), would leave behind a dead money hit of $2 million in each of the next three years for the Jets. The cap hits for a new team would be $13.5 million (2020), $11.5 million (2021) and $13 million (2002). In terms of fully guaranteed salary, it goes away after this season. According to Spotrac, Bell is due a $2.5 million roster bonus on Oct. 15.
Bell’s contract automatically pares down the list of possible trade suitors. But a potential out still stands looking to 2021 ($4 million in dead money), and these five teams could look to make a deal for him during the season (if not before?).
5 teams that could trade for Le’Veon Bell before the 2020 NFL season
5. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles seem likely to sign a veteran running back at some point (Devonta Freeman? Lamar Miller?), even if it would be better for them to just unleash Miles Sanders. But Sanders did get dinged up a bit last year, and there are relevant questions about him being able to hold up with a bigger workload.
When he was holding out from the Steelers in 2018, the Eagles were rumored to have interest in trading for Bell. They were also a rumored free agency landing spot for him in 2019, before the Jets presumably priced them out. Philadelphia currently has the fourth-most cap space in the league ($24.73 million, via Over The Cap).
Alshon Jeffery is a potential trade chip for Eagles GM Howie Roseman, even with health concerns and a pretty bad contract. If Jeffery is able to get on the field early in the season, his trade value would rise. A healthy Jeffery and a draft pick could be enough to bring Bell to Philly.