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Mehta: Jets need to sign Le'Veon Bell,even if they have to overpay

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Mehta: Jets need to sign Le'Veon Bell, even if they have to overpay

NOV 13, 2018 | 7:40 PM 
  
 
 

The Jets’ 2019 offseason mission statement should be reduced to three simple words: GET. Le’VEON. BELL.

This is the ultimate no-brainer for a rebuilding franchise plodding along at a snail’s pace.

 
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There are no more excuses or justifications for general manager Mike Maccagnan, who talks about the future on an endless loop. Well, it’s time to land this futuristic running back who can accelerate the rebuilding process one video-game-like juke at a time.

Bell might be a mercurial jet-skiing, upside-down Tweeting enigma, but he also happens to be the single best offensive dual threat in the sport (with apologies to Todd Gurley).

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Bell’s decision not to report to the Steelers by the league-mandated 4 p.m. deadline Tuesday will effectively make him a free agent in March of 2019. Oh, sure, Pittsburgh could slap the transition tag on him, but that simply will delay the inevitable: This game-wrecking force will be playing somewhere else in 2019 and beyond.

How much would Gang Green fans love to see Le'Veon Bell running out of the tunnel at MetLife Stadium next season.
How much would Gang Green fans love to see Le'Veon Bell running out of the tunnel at MetLife Stadium next season. (Winslow Townson / AP)

It could be the Jets. It should be the Jets. Frankly, it must be the Jets if this star-crossed outfit truly is committed to reversing their losing ways.

There are unofficially a trillion reasons why Bell should be wearing green and white next season.

He’ll turn 27 in February, so he’s plenty young enough to give Gang Green at least three top-end years of production. His year off from football should mitigate concerns of his heavy workload (1,635 career touches in 66 games). He’ll have the ultimate fresh legs.

The Jets will have a projected $95 million of salary cap space in a season with a projected $190 million salary cap. Maccagnan has made it clear that the organization will be aggressive in free agency. Will the Jets have to overpay for Bell, who forfeited $14.54 million by sitting out this season? You bet your derriere that they’ll have to overpay, but that’s the reality when you repeatedly whiff on draft picks.

Besides, it’s much better overpaying for a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro who wakes up defensive coordinators in a cold sweat rather than doling out oodles of cash for an above average cornerback, pedestrian running back and subpar center (who can’t snap the damn ball!).

If you can’t build through the draft, then paying for the right free agents is the best way to get better. Bell is approximately 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,069 times better than any other offensive free agent. He’s a true difference maker in a sport that requires difference makers to, you know, actually win games.

Would you rather have Le’Veon Bell or the star-studded collection of Trumaine Johnson, Spencer Long and Isaiah Crowell, who headlined the Jets free-agency class this past offseason?

I’ll take Bell every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

The Jets also have a three-year window when they don’t have to pay their quarterback big bucks. In fact, the only big-money signing that Gang Green definitely will have to account for this offseason will be a long-term extension for Leonard Williams. Williams’ new deal and the remaining two years on Johnson’s deal (there’s an easy out after 2020) are the only big-money commitments.

So, this offseason is the absolute perfect time for the Jets to sign an actual great player to a lot of loot. Consider this: The Jets’ top five players other than Williams will make peanuts in the next few years.

Here’s the breakdown for the 2019 salary cap charges for the Top 5 Jets players (excluding Williams), per overthecap.com: Sam Darnold ($6.87M), Jamal Adams ($6.07M), Marcus Maye ($1.79M), Chris Herndon ($838K) and Robby Anderson (~$3-4M depending on the restricted free-agent tender).

In other words, the Top 5 players will account for a maximum of $19.5 million on a projected $190 million cap next season. With only about 10 percent of the cap dedicated to those players, there’s no excuse not to get Bell.

The total 2020 cap commitments to Darnold, Adams, Maye and Herndon total $18.25 million. Darnold’s year-by-year cap commitments for the next three seasons: $6.87M, $8.25M, $9.62M.

The Jets have a three-year window to fortify a roster around a cheap young quarterback. That’s exactly what the Seahawks did when Russell Wilson was still playing on his rookie contract. That’s what all forward-thinking, smart organizations do.

The Jets certainly have the means to get Bell, so the only question that remains is this: Do they actually want him?

Well, they have a glaring need for a difference maker. The Jets, frankly, haven’t had a consistent game-changer since Curtis Martin. And with all due respect to Martin, a class act and terrific player, Bell is better than Martin ever was in his Hall of Fame career.

Bell wrecks games in myriad ways. He is a running back and a receiver, a constant threat to defenses, who can create mismatches for you all over the field.

He’s the first player in NFL history with 4,000 rushing yards and 2,000 receiving yards in his first 50 games. He doesn’t cut on a dime. He cuts on a single blade of grass.

He’s elusive, powerful and exactly what Darnold needs to help him through the early part of his career.

Le'Veon Bell is just the type of difference-maker on offense the Jets desperately need,
Le'Veon Bell is just the type of difference-maker on offense the Jets desperately need, (Al Bello / Getty Images)

Just ask Jared Goff how much having Gurley has helped his development.

The Jets need playmakers in the worst way. Bell would replace Crowell, who has averaged 2.4 yards per carry in eight of the first 10 games. He would instantly help Darnold and the rest of the offense.

Darnold and Bell could easily be the 2019 version of Goff and Gurley with the right offensive mind running the show.

Critics will point to Bell’s sit-out approach this season that prompted a backlash from his Steelers teammates.

Does he truly care about football or is he just in it for the money?

Newsflash: The money matters to just about every player, so I’m not going to hold it against him that he held out because he wasn’t happy with the Steelers’ offers.

Will Bell shut it down after he gets paid? If you think that, then you’re just looking for reasons to knock the guy. Bell has proven that he can deliver. If you think that he’ll just call it a day after cashing his check, then you’re just looking for excuses.

It’s fair to point to Bell’s past injuries (he missed the 2014 and 2015 playoffs) and two suspensions (for marijuana/DUI and a failed/missed drug test). Bell isn’t a home run hitter (only 27 runs of 20-plus yards in his career). Maybe he could be better at pass protection. But anyone blessed with the gift of sight knows that he can destroy opponents in a million other ways.

The Jets expressed interest in Bell earlier in the season when he was in limbo in Pittsburgh. Well, they’ll get their crack in a few short months.

If the Jets don’t make an aggressive play for one of the best players in the NFL, then we’ll know that all of this talk about turning things around was nothing but lip service.

No more excuses. Close the deal. Sign Le’Veon Bell.

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With our current OL, he'd be a waste of money.  With our lack of other weapons opposing D's will stack the box.  Bell had A Brown creating space for him.  Gurley has Cooks/Woods/Kupp. Kamara has Michael Thomas. Hunt has Tyreek Hill.  All these high production RB's succeed behind decent OLs on offenses with multiple weapons.  By ignoring the OL and whiffing on EVERY WR he's drafted, Mac has made the Jets a terrible landing spot for Bell unless all he cares about is money...

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10 minutes ago, peekskill68 said:

With our current OL, he'd be a waste of money.  With our lack of other weapons opposing D's will stack the box.  Bell had A Brown creating space for him.  Gurley has Cooks/Woods/Kupp. Kamara has Michael Thomas. Hunt has Tyreek Hill.  All these high production RB's succeed behind decent OLs on offenses with multiple weapons.  By ignoring the OL and whiffing on EVERY WR he's drafted, Mac has made the Jets a terrible landing spot for Bell unless all he cares about is money...

Look at the hole in the photo; Bell would never see that here. He has been replaced and the Steelers haven't missed a beat.The key is a solid OL. Backs age in dog years. Now may be he in fact has a Riggins-like post holdout spark, or keep on trucking like Frank Gore. But reality is sinking lots of cap room on an older aging back is not well spent unless you have a decent OL. Typical Mehta-doesn't know sheet about how football teams succeed, he's now playing for access with Maccagnan as his beloved Bowles stares down looming unemployment. 

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I Mehta, they need to sign/draft offensive linemen, a huge roster hole that the Jets have had since Brick and Mangold were let go and never replaced with anyone better than mediocre. Macc should be fired for that, given that he’s had multiple opportunities in the draft to solidify the OLine, yet keeps ignoring it. Once that happens, then we can talk about a running game.

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This is actually the worst thing we could do. You can get stud backs in the second and 3rd round.  No way in hell would a smart organization do this.

You want to win like the steelers do?  Then you stay away from players they are smart enough to let walk away.

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Entering the Steelers’ Week 10 matchup with the Carolina Panthers on Thursday, Conner is second to only Rams running back Todd Gurley in yards from scrimmage (1,085) and rushing yards (706), tied for fourth in total touchdowns (10), and is tied for sixth in yards per attempt among running backs with more than 100 carries (4.7). His 5.7 yards per touch are nearly a full yard more than Bell’s mark from last year (when Bell was named first-team All-Pro). Conner has already tied Bell’s career high for rushing touchdowns (nine) and is just one shy of Bell’s single-season high for total touchdowns (11) despite being just eight games into the season.

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At this rate they'll have to end up overpaying for Bell and maybe even Golden Tate just because the free agent WR market is hot garbage.  Also with the year off I can see him being out of shape.  They definitely need to try to re-sign Enunwa too.  With the right coaching he can be a beast.

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3 hours ago, Joe W. Namath said:

You want to win like the steelers do?  Then you stay away from players they are smart enough to let walk away.

We'll never be the Steelers because Maccagnan can't draft for his life.

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6 hours ago, Larz said:

Entering the Steelers’ Week 10 matchup with the Carolina Panthers on Thursday, Conner is second to only Rams running back Todd Gurley in yards from scrimmage (1,085) and rushing yards (706), tied for fourth in total touchdowns (10), and is tied for sixth in yards per attempt among running backs with more than 100 carries (4.7). His 5.7 yards per touch are nearly a full yard more than Bell’s mark from last year (when Bell was named first-team All-Pro). Conner has already tied Bell’s career high for rushing touchdowns (nine) and is just one shy of Bell’s single-season high for total touchdowns (11) despite being just eight games into the season.

This is my biggest fear with Bell but part of Connor's success is also the change in rules this past season IMO. I think Bell would have the same if not better stats had he played this year. That amount of money is just insane, I have a hard time trying to justify it but then I see us play and think F*** it sign the beast.

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There won't be olineman available in free agency worth big money. 
We won't have the chance to sign them for low to mid range money either of we give bell a mega contract. We need all the help we can get on that line even if they are only depth guys we are able to obtain. I love bell but someone is going to give him a huge contract after he sat out the entire year and if he comes in and gets hurt right away that could set that franchise way back. He is a huge risk vs high reward guy but I think he is the wrong risk for us to take at this time.

Sent from my LGUS991 using JetNation.com mobile app

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2 minutes ago, bealeb319 said:

We won't have the chance to sign them for low to mid range money either of we give bell a mega contract. We need all the help we can get on that line even if they are only depth guys we are able to obtain. I love bell but someone is going to give him a huge contract after he sat out the entire year and if he comes in and gets hurt right away that could set that franchise way back. He is a huge risk vs high reward guy but I think he is the wrong risk for us to take at this time.

Sent from my LGUS991 using JetNation.com mobile app
 

Disagree, the contract wouldn't hurt at all while Darnold is under his rookie deal. 2nd tier backup Olineman are affordable anyway. We need to draft some Oline and stop going shotgun, 5 wide & leaving pass rushers one on one with our edges & give our QB some players & an OC who knows how to get them open! If we go into 2019 & 40 million under the cap, every Jet fan should boycott the team! 

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I thought all along it was a dumb idea but Mehta's article makes me all the more certain it is.

If we build a really good OL then we won't have anything to worry about in the running game.  As painful as it is to say (considering it's Macc's 4th year here), we're still in a rebuild.

Stay the course!  

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For those of you that feel Mehta peruses this board for ideas... this piece is similar to what I posted about  3 days ago in the "Le'Veon Bell, Yes or No" thread..  

@RobRcan back me up as it was in a conversation with him.

Le'V will make this team fun to watch again...  all the "reasons" not to sign him is just sports radio talk and message board material.

 

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Disagree, the contract wouldn't hurt at all while Darnold is under his rookie deal. 2nd tier backup Olineman are affordable anyway. We need to draft some Oline and stop going shotgun, 5 wide & leaving pass rushers one on one with our edges & give our QB some players & an OC who knows how to get them open! If we go into 2019 & 40 million under the cap, every Jet fan should boycott the team! 
Aside from offensive linemen this will be a big free agency for pass rush we have a good chunk of money we could probably land two decent pass rushers and really bolster that position up as well if we chose that path. I fear there is better value we can get for our money than an rb who has spent the last year on a jet ski and at nightclubs.

Sent from my LGUS991 using JetNation.com mobile app

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