Jets running back Le'Veon Bell explained on Uninterrupted's '17 Weeks' podcast that there were at least four teams interested in trading for his services -- the Texans, Packers, Chiefs, and Steelers.
"The trade rumors were definitely true," Bell said. "It was interesting, just after being in this city for six, seven months, I love this city. I love the city of New York. I actually stay in New Jersey but I'm up in New York all the time. I love the fans of New York City."
SNY's Ralph Vacchiano had previously reported the interest from the Chiefs and Titans, and has now confirmed that the Packers called Jets GM Joe Doulgas as well.
The Steelers, meanwhile, are a very interesting case, as Bell held out his entire final season in Pittsburgh while looking for a new contract with the team that never materialized. In five years with the Steelers, Bell was a three-time Pro Bowl selection, rushing for 5,336 yards with 42 combined touchdowns on the ground and through the air.
"There were a lot of trade speculation and rumors about me getting traded obviously from the Jets to other, multiple teams, and they were actually true," said Bell.
"From what I heard, and what I understand was the Jets were really asking for a high price and a lot for me, and on top of that, my actual contract was actually 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."
Douglas addressed the media on Tuesday afternoon, shortly after the NFL's 4 p.m. trade deadline came and went. The first-year GM explained that while names like Bell, Jamal Adams, and Robby Anderson were being floated around in rumors, the Jets were not actively shopping those players. Douglas did say that he is always willing to listen to other teams who call, though.
"I had a conversation with the front office of the New York Jets. Joe Douglas, actually when the trade deadline was over, Joe Douglas … he took his time out to call me, and he kind of told me that they weren't really shopping me, in a sense, but teams were inquiring about me before the trade deadline. 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. I told him I didn't take any offense by it, because I understand the business of the NFL."
In seven games with the Jets this season, Bell has rushed for 349 yards on the ground, averaging 3.2 yards per carry. The Jets' offense has sputtered as a whole, though Bell has been solid when given opportunities.