Le’Veon Bell may not actually hit the open market, but he has already crossed one team off his list of possible destinations.
Le’Veon Bell is technically set to become a free agent next month. It would be a pretty huge surprise if the Pittsburgh Steelers don’t keep him, via the franchise tag again or a potential multi-year deal. His threat to retire or sit out next season if the Steelers tagged him again never held water, and he has recently expressed optimism about contract negotiations.
A potential market for Bell would be intriguing, if nothing else. Teams with plenty of cap space could consider ponying up for a top-tier running back still only approaching his 26th birthday, and with some prime years left.
The New York Jets are one of those teams with room to make big offers in free agency, with $72.4 million in cap space right now (via Over the Cap). Bilal Powell is in line to take over as their clear-cut No. 1 running back next season, if or when Matt Forte is cut, so there’s a case for an upgrade at running back.
A Jets’ fan took to Twitter to make an unofficial offer to Bell, which he quickly shot down.
The mechanics of what a $60 million contract from the Jets would look like, over however many years and in theoretical total or just guaranteed money, is ultimately a moot point. Bell will have some suitors if the Steelers drag their feet on keeping him in the fold. But even with tone or nuance missing from a social media response to a hopeful fan, Bell has effectively already crossed the Jets off his list of potential free agent destinations.
Bell is likely to remain far and away the highest-paid running back in the NFL in 2018. But he won’t be taking any “green” from “Gang Green” in March.