PFT 2019 storyline No. 11: After a year off, what will Le’Veon Bell do?


When last we saw running back Le'Veon Bell, he generated more than 1,900 yards from scrimmage in 15 regular-season games with the Steelers. But that was in 2017; he skipped all of the 2018 season in lieu of playing under the franchise tag for a second straight year.

So now he a new team and a new contract (even if it’s not nearly as much as he expected to get). The real question is whether he’ll do in New York the same things he did in five seasons with the Steelers.

Although he escaped a year of wear and tear by sitting out, Bell has taken plenty of contact during his career, with 1,541 regular-season touches — an average of 308.2 per year. Now 27, there’s a chance that Father Time will catch up with him sooner than expected, even if he can pick up where he left off more than 18 months after he left off.

The Jets didn’t hesitate to assume that Bell will be the same guy, even if they were the only ones to offer him a contract in the range of $13 million per year. He won’t have the same supporting cast he had in Pittsburgh, which means that we’ll quickly find out whether the team was good because of him or whether he was good because of the team.

If he’s still the guy that he was. That’s still the real question. Whether Bell will continue to be special, different, unique after a year out of the sport. Whether that stutter step before blasting through the hole happens like it once did. Whether the yardage continues to pile up. And, most importantly for the Jets, whether the wins will follow.

40 responses to “PFT 2019 storyline No. 11: After a year off, what will Le’Veon Bell do?

  1. My top 3 guesses:

    1. Pull a hammy, or
    2. Average 3.1 yards per carry, or
    3. Post a bunch of crap on social media and then get disgruntled when Gase tries to tell him to stop.

  2. The odds are not in his favor but only time will tell…

    If I had to bet, I’d go with 850 yards and a butt load of frustration when he has to run behind a mediocre line!

  3. After sitting out a year, we wont know the answer in the first few games, but maybe by midseason.

  4. Wasn’t there some stat that said Bell had the most opportunities to run against a non-stacked defensive front? When they have 8 guys in the box more often, I don’t think his patient running style will be as successful.

  5. I hope he is injured and becomes an also ran. Never been a fan of his kind of player and wish him all the best as his age and injuries catch up to him.

  6. Lots of touches for not that many yards, mostly due to defenses keying on him.

  7. If he isn’t the guy we saw in Pittsburgh, we won’t be seeing any new 10m plus running backs in the league.

  8. He lost his love for the game. His love for his team mates. His love to compete.

    I was shocked. He sat out on principle because the Steelers contract offer if $13 million was insulting and he tender of $15 million was not enough to risk injury over.

    After a search, he signed for what the Steelers offered.

    He wasn’t happy about it then. He is not now. In the meantime. The game, his team mates, etc. That all became a piggybank.

    He is now gangrene. Pun intended.

  9. He’ll bank a bunch of all purpose yards. He’s an amazing athlete. I applaud his willingness to buck a system that was gonna allow Pitt to continue to ride him like they stole him………. that ain’t right. Run Bell run!

  10. After giving him that contract they need to utilize his skill set the way Pittsburgh did, being creative and lining him up at receiver etc…

  11. The Jets run blocking I’s bad, so don’t look for a great year.
    On the other hand Mike Maccagnan drafted so badly for 5 years they had no one else to pay.

  12. He’s not that old, he came out young, and the concerns I had is the impact of getting out of the routine. Did he get out of shape or if he did how bad? Did he lose the edge, the timing, that thing that made him special? Now that he is getting paid, what drives him? As the guy before me said, Only time will tell.

  13. 1. Pull a hammy, or
    2. Average 3.1 yards per carry, or
    3. Post a bunch of crap on social media and then get disgruntled when Gase tries to tell him to stop.


    4. All of the above.

  14. Well, even with the Steelers, Bell is 0-4 vs Pats, despite in 3 of those games averaging about 150 combined yards (the other game just 20yds) and only ever amassed 1 TD and 1 fumble. And at Jets he won’t have Big Ben, Brown nor Smith-Schuster to take some of the attention.

  15. Worst signing I’ve seen in 10 years. I agree with Gase, and think this contract will be a cap space albatross for a long time.

  16. My guess is he will have some sort of injury that will require him to sit out part of the season . End up with 600 to 800 yards.

  17. The Jets offense needs a boost and if Bell can’t help a promising young QB like Sam Darnold nobody can. The question is wether Bell is going to put the effort and energy in to make it happen. I’ll be a believer when he does in those stupid new uniforms the Jets were showcasing a few months ago.

  18. What is with so many people here wishing Bell an injury or some other negative outcome. I am a Steelers fan, and I wish him nothing but the best. I hope he gets 200 yards and 3 TDs to help the Jets beat the Browns in week 2. Some of the same in week 3 and 7 against the Pats suits me just fine. Put up big numbers and a win against Cincy week 13 and against the Ravens the next week. A bit of an off game week 16 (maybe wake up with a bad 24 hour stomach flu Sunday morning) is fine with me, against the Steelers.

    Let’s see, OK with me if he goes 4-0 against the NFC, 3-1 against the AFC North, 2-0 against the Pats, split the other 6 games. Jets and Bell finish 11-5, Steelers can eliminate them in the playoffs.

    Bell is not the reason the Steelers missed the playoffs last year. If he is part of the reason they make it this year, I say, “Go Le’Veon!”

  19. Le’Veon Will dominate like he always has:
    1500 yards rushing, 1000 receiving, 25 TD’s total, in the running for league MVP , Jets 10-6, Steelers 5-11.

  20. He will be this generation’s Larry Johnson (KC Chiefs runner). Tons of carries, given new contract, then proves injury prone, unhappy, and finally cut within a couple of years.

    Phenomenal when he is healthy/not suspended, but he was part of a much more balanced attack in Pittsburgh. The Jets are not the Steelers and Gase is overrated as an OC. over a 1000 -1500 scrimmage yards if he makes it through the year without incident.

  21. It will mainly come down to how much Sam Darnold progresses. If Darnold is the talent that people think he is then Bell will thrive. If Darnold struggles then Bell will face eight man boxes and struggle.

  22. Guys “sit out a year” after tearing an ACL and come back strong all the time. Considering Bell didnt tear an ACL but is instead fully healthy, there is no reason to expect a dropoff from him.

  23. The amount anger still directed at Bell is strange to me. He did something which was very unusual and very risky by sitting out the year. But it was his right to do so. He came away with much less $$ than he anticipated but won’t be poor anytime soon. There’s 60% chance or better he won’t match his best numbers from the Steelers in the first season. The Jets still have issues on offense and Bell won’t make those problems go away by himself. If Darnold keeps learning, getting better, he’ll (Gase’s offense) use Bell to keep defenses guessing. If Darnold & Bell can start clicking, get in rhythm by mid-season, it’ll bode well for the offense. Like it or not young QBs & anemic offenses need to take chances with free agents like Bell. Plenty of risk on both sides but no one is going home poor either way.

  24. I personally think he was injured last year & that the whole sitting out the season was a cover up while he was recovering.

  25. The key question is whether Bell was a good player who got great results because of the team he was in? Or is Bell a great player that will get the same results anywhere he goes?
    Looking at the PFF stats for 2017 suggest that he was a good, not great player and that his results were a product of his resiliency and helped by playing in a very good offense.
    Bell was graded 29/67 running backs by PFF. He got 4 yards per carry running behind a good OL which ranked 8/32 in run blocking. He did get 1291 rushing yards but only because his 321 carries led the NFL. By a lot.
    His Yards after contact per attempt in 2017 were 2.6 That was below average.
    He is very durable it his rushing results in 2017 were below average.
    As a receiver he was again slightly above average. Ranked 27/62. Was targeted an incredible 100 times and got 678 receiving yards.
    In 2017 the only remarkable point about Bell was his durability as evidenced by his workload. But the quality of his results was average while playing in a very good offense
    That certainly raises questions now that he is playing behind a worse OL in an offense that did not have many play-makers.

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