Adam Gase refused to say he wanted Le’Veon Bell back with the Jets, and the organization should choose to keep their star running back over a mediocre head coach.
Despite featuring one of the most putrid offenses in the NFL this side of Cincinnati, the New York Jets went 6-2 down the stretch and finished the season at 7-9. That might be a cause for celebration for Jets’ owner Christopher Johnson, who saw his team avoid 10+ losses for the first time since 2015 and is eager for a reason to bring back his pick for head coach, Adam Gase.
In truth, the Jets won games in spite of Gase’s offense, with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams bolstering a unit that was starting the likes of Tarell Basham, Kyle Phillips, Bless Austin, and Neville Hewitt into a strong group. The offense, despite featuring a star running back in Le’Veon Bell and a potential franchise quarterback in Sam Darnold, struggled to move the football for most of the year, including yesterday’s 13-6 win when the playoff-bound Bills rested most of their starters.
Bell, who had his worst year as a pro behind one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines, has been an easy scapegoat for Gase, who never wanted him to begin with due to a belief he could win without star running backs. When asked about Bell’s future with the team at his year-ending press conference, Gase deflected the question, instead saying it would be up to GM Joe Douglas whether or not Bell returns.
The Jets shopped Bell at the trade deadline but ended up not dealing him, but it is expected that they will try again. Given the massive amount of guaranteed money Bell has on his contract and the fact he only ran for 789 yards in 15 games, the return for Bell is expected to be meager.
That deal would be a huge mistake since the Jets would be siding with Gase, who actively refused to give Bell the ball for large stretches of the season as if to prove a point, over a talented running back who can help their quarterback get better moving forward. A classic example of Gase’s sidelining of Bell came yesterday, when the Jets didn’t give him the ball in the second half until there were five minutes left in the game.
Despite all the nonsense from his head coach, Bell has been nothing but a good soldier who has made it clear he wants to win in New York. Gase has shown no progress from his time in Miami, where talented players were tossed aside since they didn’t fit Gase’s vision, and we have seen several of them flourish without him this year in Kenyan Drake, Ryan Tannehill, and DeVante Parker.
Robby Anderson may already walk in free agency, so trading Bell would take away two of Sam Darnold’s best weapons as he enters his third year, which would be the exact opposite of what you should do for a young quarterback. Improving the offensive line would help all parties involved, including Bell, but Gase is determined to prove he was right and dump Bell so he can win his way.
Gase may have convinced ownership that he is the future of offensive football, but the Jets’ future could take a huge step backwards if he is allowed to trade the team’s most talented offensive player just to show he knows how to build a team best.