It was NFL free agency’s worst keep secret and now it’s official: the New York Jets have signed running back Le’Veon Bell:
Le’Veon Bell’s four-year deal with the New York Jets has a max value of $61 million and includes $35 million guaranteed, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2019
For those who see the numbers and want to politely tell Bell to “take this L”, let me point out that Bell seemingly got the guaranteed money that he was looking for in a contract. While the Steelers offered him more money per year—$14 million per instead of the $13.25 million of this deal—just $17 million total of the Steelers deal was guaranteed. $35 million is quite a bit more than 17 if you ask me. And of course this signing is a huge win for the Jets because let’s not forget that Bell is a top 5 running back in this league. He good people.
Fantasy wise, I’m all about this pairing.
For Bell, this puts him back in top 5 fantasy back territory for me. He’s on a team that will look to establish the run but also certainly utilize his ability in the passing game. Another perk is that the Jets have no established back to challenge Bell for touches. Elijah McGuire isn’t going to suddenly be taking 150 touches from Bell on the season. I don’t think we’ll see the 398 touches he averaged per game since his rookie year (yet another reason Bell wanted all that guaranteed money) but who’d say no to 280 touches?
Among other players on the Jets, don’t be surprised if Sam Darnold has a decent fantasy season this year. I’m not predicting anything insane, like a top 10 performance, but top 20, dare I say top 17 showing? I could see it. He now has not only a legit rushing attack to help that the load off his shoulders, but he has arguably the best “dump it off” target in the NFL (assuming Bell’s the Bell we all know and love). I’d fully expect Darnold’s completion percentage to make a jump this year with both Bell and Jamison Crowder—yet another free agency signing I’m in on. (Damn, did the Jets just become good?) I’d draft Darnold over the likes of Marcus Mariota, Dak Prescott, Ben Roethlisberger and certainly guys like Nick Foles, Andy Dalton and Mitch Trubisky.
I’m also getting excited for Robby Anderson’s value as now teams are going to have to keep one of their safeties at least a little by the line of scrimmage. While Anderson’s targets might go down, he’s likely to see more one-on-one matchups, something he can exploit for big gains. I have no problem taking a flier in the 8th round or so.
The Jets certainly had the pieces to be an interesting team this year and one that maybe you’d tip your toe into from a fantasy perspective. Now with the addition of Bell, they look to be an offense that could produce quite a few fantasy players and put some points on the board. Who’s ready for an 8-8 season!?