The last time the New York Jets had a multi-purpose running back at the helm might have been when Ladainian Tomlinson was pounding the ball through defenders in the twilight of his career. Or maybe it was Shonn Greene and his talents carrying Mark Sanchez and the gang to the AFC Championship game.
Now, the team has All-Pro running back LeVeon Bell to utilize on Sunday’s. His talents have been clear throughout his career — a decisive runner with above-average catching ability. Bell’s anticipation and quick-twitch movements often hide the deficiencies of a poor offensive line, something the Jets might be facing in 2019.
Under Ben Roethlisberger, the star back was equally productive in the run and pass game. His most recent season of production (2017), Bell put up an astounding stat-line. Nearly 1,300 rushing yards, 655 receiving, and 11 total scores. If he can bring that type of efficiency to the Jets, the offensive will surely be revolutionalized.
The New York Jets upgraded the RB position significantly:
In 2018, top RB for the Jets, Isaiah Crowell put up 685 rushing yards and 6 scores. A slew of injuries limited the production of the unit, as Bilal Powell missed nine games – he’s the primary pass-catching back. Eliminating the different players appropriated for specific tasks and combining them into Bell not only makes the position more efficient, but it will help mask plays that were once predictable.
For example, LeVeon will make the play-action much more effective and he will provide Sam Darnold with an outlet when his other weapons are bottled up. He’s by far the best offensive talent the team has had in quite some time – and they’re paying handsomely for him.
However, the Jets worked Bell’s contract to perfection. He will count just $8.5 million against the cap this upcoming season and $15.5 million in 2020, according to Spotrac. If they feel the team doesn’t need his services, they can cut him during the 2021 offseason and it will only cost $4 million in dead cap. A masterful deal that benefits the Jets completely.
Darnold will finally have a reliable weapon that can turn negative plays into 60 yards gains in the blink of an eye.