Le’Veon Bell failed to sign his franchise tender, so he won’t be playing for the Steelers this season. It’s safe to say he’ll never be wearing a Steelers uniform again.
In fact, he won’t be playing for any NFL team this year, as he rests up in anticipation for hitting the free-agent market in the spring. The Steelers are unlikely to hit him with the transition tag, as that doesn’t accomplish much, and they’re not going to franchise tag him a third time, paying him upwards of $25 million (average of top five NFL players’ salaries).
At this point, all talk involving Bell will be about his future, specifically his potential landing spots. He was previously drawing interest from the Jets, Browns, Dolphins and 49ers, and those teams still appear to be the favorites to approach Bell with a lucrative offer, at least at this time.
And apparently, the Jets are at the top of the list. Bleacher Report insider Mike Freeman reported on Friday that it’s a “foregone conclusion” Bell will land with the Jets.
According to a number of NFL scouts and front office executives, there’s only one team that makes sense for the Steelers star: the New York Jets.
“I think it’s a foregone conclusion,” said one Steelers source.
“That’s the place where most of us have him pegged to go,” said one NFC scout.
The Jets do appear to be the most likely landing spot right now. The Jets have the cap space, and they’re in need of a veteran running back to anchor the backfield. They have a lot of youth on the offensive side of the ball, and Sam Darnold will be entering his second year as quarterback in 2019, so adding a proven veteran such as Bell makes sense. He also likes the night life, so New York could be viewed as an attractive destination for Bell.
Most importantly, though, the Jets can afford him, and would likely offer a good deal of guaranteed money to the soon-to-be-27-year-old running back, and that’s what matters.