New York Jets coach Adam Gase hasn’t exactly tried to make things work with running back Le’Veon Bell. Gase was rumored to have been against the Bell signing in the first place, and hasn’t exactly refuted that stance throughout the season.
Gase added even more fuel to that fire Monday, avoiding a question about whether Bell would remain with the team past this season.
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) December 30, 2019
Gase was asked if he wanted Bell back next year. Instead of saying, “Yeah, of course, we’re committed to Le’Veon” like any other coach, Gase cited Bell’s contract and told the reporter to ask general manager Joe Douglas about Bell’s status Tuesday. Douglas will meet with Jets media Tuesday.
The 27-year-old Bell didn’t seem super enthused about that answer.
In his first season with the Jets, Bell struggled to put up his usual numbers. He rushed for just 789 yards in 15 games, his lowest total since 2015. Bell averaged a career-low 3.2 yards per carry.
While it’s easy to blame Bell for those numbers, Gase deserves plenty of scorn for the Jets’ struggles as a whole. The Jets ranked dead last in offensive yards per game and 31st in points per game in 2019.
On top of that, the 2019 NFL season saw plenty of Gase’s former players excel without him. DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki found their footing with the Miami Dolphins, Kenyan Drake looked like a stud with the Arizona Cardinals and Ryan Tannehill played like a totally different quarterback with the Tennessee Titans.
The common thread in all of that — including Bell’s struggles — is Gase. The players he left got better. The players he joined performed worse.
Bell and Gase might be stuck working things out for now. Unless something drastic changes, Gase will be the team’s head coach next season, and Bell is just one year into the four-year, $52.5 million deal he signed last offseason.
The Jets may try to deal Bell, but the team would likely have to eat some money on the deal to make it work. Given how poorly things went with Bell and Gase in Year 1, a trade might be for the best for both sides.
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