This past Tuesday, there was a damning report that stated the New York Jets were actually interested in trading Le’Veon Bell after they just signed him during the offseason. As it turned out, nothing ever came of it, but there were some interested teams, according to Bell.
The New York Jets running back said Thursday on his Sirius Radio podcast “17 weeks” that the Steelers, Texans, Packers and Chiefs were in the mix to trade for him before the deadline.
“There was a lot of trade speculations and rumors about, you know, me getting traded obviously from the Jets to other, multiple teams,” Bell said, via Pro Football Talk. “And they were actually true. There were times where — I found out from my agent, you know, he had talked to the Jets and things like that. But there were teams like Houston, the Packers, the Kansas City Chiefs, and surprisingly the Steelers, were all in the mix of trying to trade for me.”
He also claimed thatthe Jets set a “high price” for him in trade talks.
“The Jets were really asking for a high price and a lot for me,” Bell said. “On top of that, my actual contract was kind of tough for teams to deal with, which is understandable. Not too many teams want to pay that high of a price for a running back.
“To be honest, I was not trying to take a pay cut, simply for the fact that I sat out a full year of football to get what I earned and deserved. That would’ve kind of defeated the whole purpose, so I didn’t want to do that.”
Bell later spoke on a conversaation he had with Jets GM Joe Douglas.
“[H]e took his time out to call me,” Bell said. “He kind of told me that they weren’t really shopping me in a sense but teams kind of inquired about me before the trade deadline. And, you know, he was honest with me, he said he was open to it. But like I said earlier, teams were really asking for a lot and he wasn’t really trying to give me up for something he didn’t feel like would help the New York Jets in the future. And he obviously feels like I’m a player who can help turn this team around.”
The Steelers being interested in trading for him raises a few eyebrows, given what transpired between the two just last year.
The Jets signed Bell to a four-year, $52.5 million contract after the Steelers allowed him to leave for free agency following a season-long contract holdout.
So far in 2019, Bell has rushed 109 times for 349 yards and one touchdown.