After signing a huge free-agent contract with the New York Jets in 2019, Le’Veon Bell had arguably the worst season of his NFL career.
Rich Cimini of ESPN is reporting that the New York Jets were unhappy with star running back Le’Veon Bell’s fitness. They believe that as the season progressed, Bell “gained weight and lost explosiveness.”
This is a clear shot at Bell’s fitness, which wouldn’t be the first. After Bell signed with the Jets and didn’t report to mini-camp, there were reports about Bell having poor fitness. Specifically, there were reports about his weight.
It’s hard to say whether or not this report has any validity to it, but it’s clear the Jets and Bell haven’t been a perfect marriage.
New York Jets’ head coach Adam Gase and Bell were at odds more than once in 2019. Bell saw a significant drop in touches as the season went on, which didn’t sit well with him. The Jets even tried to trade Bell at the deadline, and they’re still trying to trade him.
Considering a trade is unlikely due to Bell’s salary, this tension isn’t what anyone wants to see. It makes it hard for a star player like Bell to be a leader when it’s clear the team doesn’t want him.
Why should the rest of the team rally behind him if they know he won’t be here long? It creates a difficult to navigate and at times toxic locker room. Why would any free agent want to come to a place with a toxic locker room?
This is just another rumor to add to the fire. Based on most of the rumors coming out of the Jets since the beginning of 2019, Adam Gase hasn’t gotten along with the players. In fact, he’s been the case for much of the locker room tension.
There’s no way to tell if that’s actually the case, but it will have an effect. How the outside world views the organization is a big deal when recruiting free agents.
All the cap space in the world can’t save the New York Jets reputation.