NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Jets’ decision to move on from Le’Veon Bell was a stunner. For a while now, though, it appeared inevitable.
The star running back never seemed to truly mesh with Adam Gase or his offense during the past season-plus. And Bell made it clear he wasn’t thrilled with his role.
So, his sudden release Tuesday night wasn’t completely a surprise — although the timing was. Rather than the Jets waiting to try to trade him at the deadline in three weeks, they instead decided to cut ties now with a player for whom there were such high hopes.
“That was kind of the consensus we came to last night,” Gase said Wednesday. “Spoke with him and for us, we just felt like it was best that we part ways.”
Bell was not seen as a long-term part of the Jets’ future, even though he signed a four-year, $52 million deal with the team last offseason. He was likely to be a salary cap cut next offseason, so New York tried to find a trade partner. The Jets also gave Bell and his agent permission to explore trades on their ends, but there were no takers.
Bell’s $8 million injury guarantee for 2021 was a hinderance for some, even with the Jets willing to pick up some of the $6 million remaining on his guaranteed base salary for this year. So, Bell is now a free agent and can sign with any other team after 4 p.m. Wednesday.