Reaching into the New York Jets mailbag to examine hot-button topics surrounding the team:
Replying to @RichCimini
Can we flip the 3rd we got for Bridgewater to Pittsburgh if Bell’s holdout continues? #jetsmail
9:14 PM – Sep 7, 2018
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@RichCimini: As ESPN colleague Jeremy Fowler notes in his thorough breakdown of the Le’Veon Bell situation, the chances of him being traded are remote. Here’s why:
By rule, a franchise-tagged player isn’t allowed to sign a multiyear contract until the regular season ends. The deadline was July 15. In other words, any team that wants to trade for the talented running back would be taking a risk because he could be a one-year rental. Would it be worth it for the Jets to trade a third-round pick for a possible one-and-done player?
The New Orleans Saints just did it with Teddy Bridgewater, but they’re a win-now team with a closing window. In my opinion, it wouldn’t be a smart move for the Jets. If they were one or two players away from being a serious playoff contender, I’d say to try to make a deal. But, as you know, that is not the case, especially with a rookie quarterback. Plus, I doubt the Steelers would trade Bell for only a third-rounder.
One caveat: If the Jets are 5-3 or better at the trading deadline, then, yeah, go for it.
There’s another side to the question: If Bell is refusing to play for the Steelers for $14.5 million (the amount of the franchise tag), why on earth would he do it for the Jets? They could try to entice him by sweetening his one-year salary — the Steelers are allowed to do that, too — but then it begs the question: Is it worth paying a running back more than $15 million for one year? Right now, the Jets have $15.5 million in cap room, so it would be a tight squeeze.
From the Jets’ perspective, it makes more sense to wait until Bell becomes a free agent after the season, assuming he’s not tagged a third time. His asking price will be outrageous, and you could argue it wouldn’t be prudent to pay more than $40 million in guarantees for a 27-year-old running back. Then again, general manager Mike Maccagnan was willing to pay top-of-the-market contracts to Khalil Mack and Kirk Cousins, so it couldn’t be ruled out.
#jetsmail @RichCimini Jets Starting OL did not play together in preseason, how porous of a group should we expect this season? Is that a reason they kept (TE) Eric Tomlinson for 6th blocker packages?
9:48 PM – Sep 7, 2018
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@RichCimini: You’re absolutely correct; the starting five didn’t play a single snap together in an actual game, which is troublesome. Three reasons: They’re learning a new scheme, they have a new center (Spencer Long) making the protection calls, and a rookie quarterback. They’ve had several practices together, but there’s a big difference between practices and games. There will be a transition period.
The biggest concern is left tackle Kelvin Beachum, who missed the preseason because of a foot issue. When he wasn’t able to practice, he worked with the training staff, which put him through various drills that simulated game-like movements and strength patterns. Pretty scientific stuff, but again, there’s nothing like a game. Opening night could be a rough one for Beachum, who will have to block the Detroit Lions’ Ziggy Ansah.
After a week or two, I think the line will settle down. We’re talking about five veteran players, so it’s not like they’re breaking in a newbie. That said, they’ll need some help from the playcaller and Sam Darnold, who has to throw on time.