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.