FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- A look at what's happening around the New York Jets:
1. Fire sale: The decision to cut running back Le'Veon Bell, who has already signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, sent a loud message to the locker room: "Nobody is safe," linebacker Avery Williamson said.
At 0-5, Jets general manager Joe Douglas could be in a "sell" state of mind, looking to acquire future assets as the Nov. 3 NFL trade deadline approaches. His phone will be ringing because the league is thinking, "Fire sale!" Things are quiet now, but they will perk up in the coming days.
Let's take a look at prominent players whose names likely will surface:
Quinnen Williams, defensive tackle: The Jets received trade inquiries at last year's deadline, reported ESPN's Adam Schefter, who said one team offered a "blockbuster package of picks." That was when Williams was only eight games out of college, still a shiny prospect as the No. 3 overall pick in 2019. His market value has dipped, though he's still 22 years old with physical traits that make scouts' hearts flutter. Williams has two-plus years and $9.8 million left on his contract (fully guaranteed), a number that will attract suitors. Someone will be willing to bet on his potential, overlooking his pedestrian production. The cap hit wouldn't be awful, but my understanding is they have no desire to move him. Maybe their position will change in the offseason.
Sam Darnold, quarterback: Darnold is a getting a lot of play by media types because of his inconsistent season and the Trevor Lawrence factor, but the Jets have zero interest in trading him. It makes no sense to deal him. None. They'd be taking a major risk. What if they don't get the No. 1 overall pick? What happens if Lawrence suffers a major injury for Clemson? The best plan is to let Darnold get healthy (he could play next week), play out the season and make a decision based on his performance versus draft options. If they're picking first, it's a no-brainer. Take Lawrence and flip Darnold for a second- or third-round pick.
Marcus Maye, safety: He's in the final year of his contract and figures to be a sought-after free agent. The Jets have rookie Ashtyn Davis waiting in the wings, so it wouldn't be a surprise if Douglas shops Maye. It was the same situation last season with Leonard Williams, and they got a solid return in a deadline trade. Maye got off to a great start in his new role at strong safety, but the past few weeks have proven he's not Jamal Adams 2.0. He probably should go back to his old free-safety position. If someone offers a third-round pick, the Jets would have to listen.
Chris Herndon, tight end: If they trade him, they'd be selling low. Herndon has been a disappointment, which has puzzled the organization, but he still has upside and one year remaining on his contract. They should keep him around to see if another coaching staff can develop him.
Henry Anderson, defensive end: The Jets would love to deal him, but that's not going to happen. He still has a $4.9 million guarantee remaining this year and a non-guaranteed $8.2 million in 2021. The previous regime overpaid for a solid 2018 season. Anderson played a season-low 17 snaps in last week's loss, which could be a harbinger.
2. Bell bottom: You get the feeling the Bell ouster could really backfire on Gase in a few ways.
It will be interesting to see how the team responds Sunday against the Miami Dolphins (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS). The locker room was stung by the Bell news. If the team goes out and stinks it up against a mediocre opponent, it's fair to wonder if Jets CEO Christopher Johnson will say enough is enough.
If Bell enjoys immediate success with the Chiefs, it will be another dent on Gase's reputation -- perhaps the final one. Jets ownership won't be keen on watching Bell play well for another team after struggling in Gase's system, although let's be fair: Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes can make anyone look good.
I'm curious to see how Gase divides the workload between Frank Gore, 37, and rookie La'Mical Perine. A week ago, he said he didn't want to overload Perine. Now he's saying Perine will have a bigger role. He should, but we all know Gase's affinity for Gore. If Sunday becomes the Gore Show ... like, what's the point?
3. Frank-ly speaking: Perine has a terrific role model in Gore. Every Wednesday, Gore meets one-on-one with Perine to discuss the game plan. He tries to inspire Perine by sharing his story, how he went from third-round pick (2005) to third all-time leading rusher.
Gore was the sixth running back picked that year, and he committed to memory the five players picked ahead of him. He named them for reporters: Ronnie Brown, Cedric Benson, Cadillac Williams, J.J. Arrington and Eric Shelton.
"I told myself, 'I want to be the best one out of this class,'" Gore said.
As a fourth-round pick, Perine can relate to that. Speaking of Gore, he said, "That's a guy I look up to. He's a great leader."
4. How to waste $186 million: The Bell debacle is the latest and most glaring example of how organizational dysfunction can result in bad decisions. Former Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan signed Bell over Gase's objections. Two months later, Maccagnan got fired, leaving Gase with a player he didn't want. Enter Douglas, who spent the past year exploring ways to unload Bell, which created a wedge between player and organization and eventually led to irreconcilable differences.
The person who presided over this mess is Johnson, whose family is now paying $6 million to Bell to play for another team. You can't make this stuff up.
The Bell contract will go down as one of the worst contracts in Jets history -- heck, NFL history -- continuing quite a run of mismanagement. As the chart shows, there have been some clunker contracts in recent years.
5. Did you know? Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, an ex-Jet, has passed for more than 300 yards in each of the past two games. Darnold has only four 300-yard games in 30 career starts.
6. Did you know, part II? The Jets went 6-11 with Bell, averaging 16.5 points per game. They went 1-3 without him, averaging 17.5 -- not much of a difference.
7. Historic class: The scouts predicted the 2020 wide-receiver class would be filled with stars, and it hasn't disappointed. The top 11 receivers drafted are averaging 213 receiving yards per man. The 12th, the Jets' Denzel Mims, is another story. Injured, he has yet to play a down. He didn't join 11-on-11 drills until this week, the first time the coaching staff actually saw him run routes in a competitive situation in person.
8. Deepest cuts: The decision to cut a high-profile veteran during the season doesn't happen too often around the Jets. I racked my brain and came up with these names from the past decade: Guard Kelechi Osemele (2019), wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (2018), wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (2017), defensive lineman Quinton Coples (2015) and wide receiver Derrick Mason (2011).
Clearly, no one on this list was on the level of Bell.
9. Black-and-Gold jinx: Bell's ill-fated tenure with the Jets is similar to that of another former Pittsburgh Steelers player, quarterback Neil O'Donnell, who lasted only two seasons (1996-1997) after chasing big free-agent money and thinking he could change the Jets' losing culture. O'Donnell played 21 games, Bell only 17. When will they learn?
10. The last word: "We talked about it as a staff. None of the guys thought that was the right move to make. That was just kind of talking with those guys and seeing if we needed to make any changes in that area. Nobody thought that was the reason why anything is going the way it’s going." -- Gase on consulting with his staff on whether he should remove himself as the playcaller.