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Le’Veon Bell confirmed Chiefs were among teams interested in him

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It was surprising to learn the Chiefs were in the market for Bell ahead of the trade deadline, but it looks like the price was just too high

New England Patriots v New York Jets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

One of the surprising storylines leading up to the NFL trading deadline on Tuesday was a report that the Kansas City Chiefs were among the teams trying to make a deal for New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell.

It was unexpected because running back is not a position where the Chiefs are shorthanded — and there are other positions where the Chiefs could use an upgrade. But on the other hand — as our Matt Lane noted on Thursday — while LeSean McCoy, Damien Williams and Darrel Williams are all talented backs, none of them have really been showing they can be a feature back for the Chiefs in 2019.

Speaking with Nate Burleson on UNINTERRUPTED’s 17 Weeks Podcast on SiriusXM/Pandora, Bell said that from what he was told, the interest in a trade for him was from the outside looking in.

“Joe Douglas — the general manager for the Jets — he took his time out to call me,” explained Bell. “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.”

Bell confirmed that the Chiefs were among the teams that expressed interest in acquiring him.

“There were teams like Houston, the Packers, the Kansas City Chiefs — and surprisingly the Steelers — [that] were all in the mix of trying to trade for me,” he said. “And from what I heard — and I understand — was the Jets were really asking for a high price.”

In the end, no deal was made; Bell will be with the Jets for the forseeable future. But it wasn’t just the compensation the Jets wanted that kept a deal from taking place. Bell’s contract would have been relatively inexpensive in 2019 — a team would have needed only about $1.8 in cap space to accommodate it — but after that, his salary would have been steep. Teams would have needed to have $13.5 million in 2020, and $11.5 million in 2021.

“My actual contract was kind of tough for teams to deal with — which is understandable,” Bell said. “Not too many teams really want to pay that high of a price for a running back.”

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