Who Will Sign Le'Veon Bell? 5 Possible Landing Spots After RB Released by Jets

Le'Veon Bell is looking for a new team for the second time in less than two years after the New York Jets released the running back on Tuesday night, bringing an ill-fated 17-game spell to an end.

ESPN and The Athletic reported the Jets tried to trade the three-time Pro Bowler, but decided to cut their losses when no suitors materialized.

The franchise will pay Bell a $2.5 million bonus later this week and the pro-rated remainder of his base salary, which amounts to $6 million and will allow whichever team signs Bell to do so for the league minimum.

Bell sat out the entirety of the 2018 season due to a contract holdout which led to a tumultuous divorce from the Pittsburgh Steelers. In his first season with Jets he failed to rediscover the form that had helped him accumulate 1,946 yards from scrimmage in 2017 and finished with 789 rushing yards in 15 games at a rate of 3.2 yards per carry, a career-low.

Bell had just 461 yards last season, failing to break the 600-yard receiving threshold for only the third time in his career and for only the second time in a season when he played more than six games.

Bell has played just two games this season and averages 37 yards per game at 3.9 yards per carry and 13 yards per reception.

With a host of running backs suffering from injury and teams looking to add depth to their rosters, Bell should find himself a new home in the NFL this season.

Here's five possible landing spots for the running back.

Chicago Bears

The Bears lost Tarik Cohen to an ACL injury at the end of last month, leaving David Montgomery as the main running back at Matt Nagy's disposal. The second-year back, however, averages a modest 3.7 yards per carry through the first five weeks of the regular season and hasn't rushed for at least 30 yards since Week 3. While Bell has averaged just under seven yards per reception during his spell with the Jets, he remains a capable receiver who could add another layer to Chicago's offense. The Bears are 4-1 but if Nagy is to keep the offense ticking, he must provide quarterback Nick Foles with as many weapons as possible.

The Bears have $8.4 million available in cap space, according to overthecap.com, meaning it should not be a problem for them to add Bell should they wish to do so.

Kansas City Chiefs

Clyde Edwards-Helaire has—quite literally—hit the ground running in his rookie season and averages a healthy 68.8 yards per game through the first five weeks of the season. However, after racking up 138 rushing yards in the season opener the former LSU star has not rushed for more than 64 yards in the following four weeks. Perhaps more worryingly, he has had seven touches inside the five-yard line and has not scored in any of those drives.

With Super Bowl LIV hero Damien Williams opting out of the season due to coronavirus-related concerns, the Chiefs options behind Edwards-Helaire are thin on the ground, with Darwin Thompson recording just six touches so far—and losing a fumble on one of them—and Darrel Williams averaging a paltry 3.2 yards per carry. Could Andy Reid turn to Bell to bolster his options at running back?

Tennessee Titans

Derrick Henry continues to churn out yards at a rate of knots—Tuesday night's win against the Buffalo Bills was the first time this season he has rushed for less than 84 yards—but he's averaged only 3.9 yards per carry through the first four games of the season, despite carrying the ball a combined 101 times—the second-highest tally in the league behind Josh Jacobs. Henry has been a high-volume running back since he entered the league in 2016, largely down to the Titans' lack of options at the position. Bell is arguably a better receiver than Henry and would lighten the load on last season's leading rusher, which could be crucial for Tennessee's hopes of going deep in the playoffs.

The Titans have $7.5 million available in salary cap space.

San Francisco 49ers

Super Bowl LIV runner-ups have a plethora of running backs. Unfortunately for them, however, most are either banged up or have just returned from injury. Raheem Mostert returned on Sunday, but Tevin Coleman remains sidelined and the injuries have taken their toll on San Francisco, who barely makes the top-10 in rushing offense this season after ranking second in that particular metric 12 months ago. Few coaches in the NFL like having running backs who can offer a receiving threat at their disposal as Kyle Shanahan, so don't be surprised if the 49ers enter the race for Bell. The one issue for San Francisco is its salary cap space, which is the fifth-lowest in the NFL at $4.5 million.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns' running game has swept everything aside in the first five weeks of the campaign to the tune of a league-best 188.4 rushing yards per game, but with Nick Chubb sidelined indefinitely with a sprained MCL could Cleveland be tempted into the market for a running back? With $31.6 million available in salary cap space, the Browns have more room for manoeuvre from a financial standpoint than any of the other 31 teams in the league, but D'Ernest Johnson has been an accomplished replacement for Chubb so far, averaging 5.6 yards per carry over the last two weeks. Additionally, Bell is more similar to Browns star running back Kareem Hunt than he is to Chubb, which may suggest the Browns will roll with Johnson for now.

Le'Veon Bell, New York Jets
Le'Veon Bell #26 of the New York Jets runs with the ball against the Arizona Cardinals at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on October 11. The Jets released Bell on Tuesday. Mike Stobe/Getty

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