With the exception of a couple of vague tweets heard 'round the NFL, Le'Veon Bell was one of the quietest free agents in the league on Monday. If the Jets were looking to make some noise by signing the NFL's No. 1 free agent, it looks like they're going to have to wait.
For the moment, as multiple NFL sources told SNY, the Jets are believed to be the favorite to land the 27-year-old running back. But the truth is, only Bell knows for sure for whom he will toll. He said on Twitter he had more than two teams to choose from. The Jets, 49ers, Eagles, Raiders, Dolphins and Bears had all been mentioned as possible destinations.
Not the Colts, you ask? Not so far, at least as far as anyone knows. That's a bummer for Bell since, as SNY reported during last season, that was his preferred destination and the Colts have more cap room than any team in the league. But so far there's been no indication at all that they're interested in signing him.
That's good for the Jets. How good? Who knows? Stay tuned, since it's still a good bet that Bell has a new team lined up before the market officially opens at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
In the meantime, here are some takeaways on what they did and did not do on Day 1:
- In an uninspiring wide receiver market, the Jets found a very valuable weapon for Sam Darnold, inking WR Jamison Crowder to a three-year, $28.5 million deal with $17 million guaranteed. The 5-foot-9 speedster was arguably the best slot receiver on the market. He's coming off a down season in which he missed half of it with an ankle injury and suffered through some horrid quarterback play in the other half. He probably can be counted on for 60 catches for 800 yards, maybe more considering how Adam Gase's offense has often featured the slot receiver.
- The Jets made a tremendous decision to pursue -- and agree to terms with -- LB Anthony Barr, especially with so many of the top and most accomplished pass rushers already off the market. Many of them were franchised, and DE Trey Flowers seemed destined for Detroit. So the Jets got creative and went after a player who wasn't really used as an edge-rusher in Minnesota. He only has 13 1/2 career sacks, but new Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams sees pass-rush potential, according to a source. The Jets absolutely intend to use the 6-foot-5, 255-pounder off the edge, a source said, which means he fills what is arguably their biggest need.
- The Jets made a huge move trading for G Kelichi Osemele on Sunday, and they were on the verge of another big one on Monday as they appeared to be leading the race for Matt Paradis -- arguably the best center on the market. The Jets and the Bills were going strong after him, according to a league source, but the Bills eventually dropped out to sign former Chiefs center Mitch Morse. That seemed to leave the Jets as the clear favorites for Paradis, the former Bronco who happened to be in New York on Monday (mostly because that's where his agents are).
- It's not particularly good news for LB Darron Lee that the Jets were so heavily involved in the inside linebacker market, too. They were involved with Ravens LB C.J. Mosely all day, according to a source, and one report said they were the leaders in a four-team race to get him. The Jets also had expressed an interest in Denver's Brandon Marshall. They weren't looking to replace Avery Williamson, whom they signed last year. This is probably a good indication they're not going to pick up the fifth-year option on Lee's contract. The deadline for that is May.
- The Jets' secondary is going to need some help. They lost Buster Skrine, who signed a three-year, $16.5 million deal with the Bears (including $8.5 million guaranteed) -- far more than the Jets thought he was worth. There's no indication they have any interest in re-signing Morris Claiborne. And they're pretty down on Trumaine Johnson, who was a problem on and off the field in the first year of his five-year, $72.5 million deal last year. Don't be surprised if they use some of their cap space on reinforcements. Oh, they did re-sign CB Daryl Roberts, too.
- The Jets made a nice pickup late in the day to agree to terms with former Bears WR Josh Bellamy on a two-year, $7 million deal. He's a special teams ace and could be a big addition to a special teams unit that was a very pleasant surprise last season.
- The Jets had some interest in bringing veteran QB Josh McCown back to spend another year behind Darnold, but the soon-to-be 40-year-old released a statement on Monday night that made it sound like he's leaning toward retirement. It read, in part, that he'd "like to take more time before making the commitment to play in 2019." He cited "family dynamics" as a reason for being unsure of his future, despite "a strong desire to continue playing." That explains the logic behind an ESPN report earlier in the day that Gase could bring in former Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill as a backup, if the Dolphins decide to move on from Tannehill, of course. Having an experienced backup behind Darnold is enormous. And if they can get Tannehill, who clearly knows Gase's offense and can help Darnold learn it, that would be a coup.