Tim Benz: Le’Veon Bell’s signing may have helped cause Jets firings
Le’Veon Bell is already causing problems for the New York Jets.
And he hasn’t even practiced with the team yet!
This time, it’s not Bell’s fault, really. You can’t blame “Juice” for a drug violation, a tardy appearance at a walk-through, a rap diss or a social media faux pas. The only thing Bell did wrong was sign the best deal offered to him.
Well, unless you count the better deal he should’ve signed to stay in Pittsburgh.
But we don’t need to go down that road again.
No, this time Bell reportedly is only at fault for accepting a contract offer he liked from the Jets. That offer seems to be part of a rift within the Jets power structure that led to Wednesday’s front-office firings.
In case you missed the news, the Jets fired general manager Mike Maccagnan and vice president of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger. Coach Adam Gase will take over as acting GM. The New York Daily News reported Gase would like Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas to take over the job on a full-time basis.
Daily News Jets beat writer Manish Mehta tweeted that a disagreement over Bell’s signing was a major reason there was a rift between Maccagnan and Gase.
One disagreement between Adam Gase and Mike Maccagnan/Christopher Johnson…
Gase absolutely did not want to sign Le’Veon Bell, per sources. In fact, he made it clear that he didn’t want to spend a lot of money on any running back.
— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) May 15, 2019
I’d say $35 million guaranteed is a lot of money, even if it isn’t as much as Bell thought he’d get at this point last year.
So it appears Gase lost the battle regarding the signing of Bell. But he must have won the power struggle over who makes decisions moving forward.
“Mike helped to execute the strategic vision of the organization during the last four seasons and especially the last few months,” Jets Chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson said in a statement to the media. “However I came to the decision to make a change after much thought and careful assessment of what would be in the best long-term interests of the New York Jets.”
Did Bell’s absence from workouts and lingering concerns about his weight factor into Johnson’s decision to remove Maccagnan? That’s to be determined.
What’s really going to be interesting to watch is how Bell and Gase relate. Bell has surely heard that within the debate of who wanted him, the guy who did is gone.
And the guy who allegedly didn’t—his coach—is still part of the organization.
Gase and Johnson can spin this however they want. But their track record is already smudged. Gase denied a rift between Maccagnan and himself as recently as last week. And in his story, Mehta claims that Johnson refuted a belief that Maccagnan would be fired after the draft.
As a result, it’ll take more than a grain of salt to believe Gase and Johnson now that Maccagnan is out. Hopefully, Maccagnan will shed some light on the details at some point.
I also hope that Bell turns this perceived slight from Gase into a poorly auto-tuned rap clap back. In fact, I expect that to happen before his first full practice.