Jets To Sign Le’Veon Bell

The Jets have reached agreement on a deal to sign Le’Veon Bell, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The former Steelers running back will receive a four-year, $52.5MM contract with $35MM guaranteed. The deal will carry a maximum value of nearly to $61MM, including incentives. 

Bell was said to be deciding between about six teams on Tuesday, though the list of clubs might not have been completely accurate. The Ravens, for example, did not make an offer to Bell, according to Schefter. On top of that, the Ravens never even had conversations with Bell’s agent about signing him, Mike Florio of PFT (on Twitter) hears.

Still, plenty of other teams were hot on his tail. The 49ers, for example, made a strong offer to the running back and “were engaged in a wild tug-of-war with the Jets” in the final hours before Bell agreed to join Gang Green, Schefter hears.

For the Jets, the Bell signing redeems a difficult week of misfires. The Jets thought they had a deal with Vikings free agent linebacker Anthony Barr only for Barr to bail at the last minute and re-sign with the Vikings. The Jets were also heavily in pursuit of center Matt Paradis, but he stunned the league on Tuesday night by joining up with the Panthers instead.

Bell gained nearly 2,000 total yards in 2017, a year in which he was franchise tagged by the Steelers. When tagged again, Bell opted to sit out the entire 2018 season, resulting in the forfeiture of a $14.5MM salary, or $855K per game. Bell managed to make it to unrestricted free agency without the risk of injury in his final Steelers season, but it’s debatable as to whether the $14.5MM sacrifice was worthwhile.

In 2017, his last season on the field, Bell led the league with a career-high 321 rushing attempts. In the past, Bell has spoken of reducing his workload, so the Jets may have to dial down his usage. In any event, Bell profiles as the Jets’ most talented running back since Curtis Martin. The franchise has enjoyed the post-prime star power of LaDainian Tomlinson and others in the past, but Bell is a generational talent in his prime who can keep defenses honest and open up the passing game for youngster Sam Darnold.

With Darnold in the fold, the Jets are deploying the strategy used by many NFL teams with quarterbacks on rookie deals: surround the young signal-caller with talent while he’s on a cheap deal. Bell will give the Jets a boost in the running game, and he’ll be working behind an offensive line that includes new addition Kelechi Osemele, whom New York acquired from Oakland. New slot receiver Jamison Crowder, too, should give Darnold another weapon in the latter’s second pro campaign.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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40 comments on “Jets To Sign Le’Veon Bell

    • keyser_soze

      How is it a pay cut when he got more guaranteed money? Anyone that knows how the Steelers do business, knows that they only guarantee the 1st year or signing bonus portion of the contract. So, the 70mil he turned down from them had around 17-20 mil guaranteed

      • gozurman1

        He lost close to 15million by sitting out last year. Yes, I do know how they do business and if Bell had been hurt, they would have put him on IR and paid him. They have always done that when they sign long term deals like this. See Ryan Shazier for a current example.

      • Bell had been overuse by the Steelers. A year off for his bones and muscles to do deep healing will keep him running another three or four years, like John Riggins.

        • crosseyedlemon

          Riggo had a far better OL to support him than Bell will have and he never ballooned to 260 lbs. The Jets continue their long tradition of getting poor return on investments.

  1. Pitches Love Velocity

    Gonna need to fix the oline and get a te.

    What good is getting crowder bell and having darnold if you can’t block for them? Jets need to trade back 1st 2nd round get extra picks and draft oline te and CBs.

  2. forwhomjoshbelltolls

    I’ll ask the same question I’ve asked the whole time…

    Does Bell’s agent have other clients or is it just some dude that Bell knows?

    Lev lost millions he will never make back in order to make less money than he was offered in the first place in a state with higher taxes.

    It’s hard to play a hand worse.

    • Senioreditor

      Unless he got injured last year and got offered minimum this off season. That’s why he sat. Didn’t want to risk injury on a 1 yr deal with no guarantees.

    • keyser_soze

      You’re a Pittsburgh fan, right? Can you enlighten us on how much Guaranteed money Pittsburgh had in his deal? 70 mil total really means nothing.

      • forwhomjoshbelltolls

        I’m a Pittsburgh…Penguins fan. I could honestly care less whether the Steelers win or lose. And I only hope the Pirates win for Doc Emrick’s sake.

        $45 million guaranteed in the first 3 years. $70 million over 5 in total.

        And I have two words for the “he didn’t want to risk injury” argument…Ryan Shazier.

        He made a bad business decision. The people who claimed he would win don’t want to admit he lost, but…

        The math doesn’t lie.

        And I still haven’t gotten an answer, does he have a real agent or did he hire one from his entourage?

        • keyser_soze

          WRONG! NOTHING after the first year was guaranteed, so need to debate the rest.

          Also, you sure post a lot not to care about the Steelers. Not an insult, but an observation.

          • forwhomjoshbelltolls

            Correct, sorry, I should have said $45 over first 3 years. I used “guaranteed” as a short hand way of saying that there was no chance the team would have cut him in that window unless he failed drug tests or acted worse than AB.

            And I listen to a lot of local sports talk, so that I don’t care doesn’t mean I can’t offer informed (and objective) opinions.

            I was calling Ben a drama queen while many of his current haters were in diapers. And I’ll say he’s a slam dunk HOF’er. Just calling balls and strikes here.

        • Big Poison

          If you’re not a Pirates fan, why do you have a Pirates player name in your handle?

          Oh and his agent also represents mjd.

          • forwhomjoshbelltolls

            A- I like the word play of sticking Bell’s name into the song (or book, for some) title.

            B- I created the handle for MLBTR.

            C- Thanks for the info. Is MJD his only other client ever?

            Bell’s agent did him wrong here, I’m just wondering if Bell was justified in trusting him as a qualified agent…

        • Cosmodogs

          I don’t what what some people’s agenda is on here? I assume just trolling for trolling purposes(?). Steeler fan or not, agenda or not, the people who face the real facts ALL REALLY KNOW:
          AB – financially won BIG TIME.
          Bell – financially lost BIG TIME.
          Shoot, the Steelers will actually get more compensation for Bell’s exit than they got for AB when you consider they had to eat $21m to trade AB, and they recouped $14.5m due to Bell sitting out last year.

      • Cosmodogs

        Not a Steeler fan, and could care less if Bell made more or less $. Reported facts:
        2017 – asked for and got offered in the end what he wanted – 4/$60m (15 per) $30m guaranteed. Changed his mind, at the last second, and wanted $17 per and $34 guaranteed. Got tag at $12m.
        2018 – offered 5/$71m $33m guaranteed. Wanted $50m guaranteed, probably due to Gurley’s contact($45m guaranteed), which is what his ask price was this cycle. Declined tag of $14.5m.
        2019 – read above, but $35 guaranteed, but at a much higher state & local tax rate.
        Minus a career ending injury the last two years, he lost atleast $18m. Probably more, because fewer carries or not, he is one year older, and tough to beat Father Time.
        He should have followed AB, who played it perfectly for much more $ and SMOCKED the Steelers.

        • phenomenalajs

          Good analysis, but sometimes there are other things involved than just salary. His endorsement potential is much greater in the NYC Metro than in PIT. He may have had enough with the way the Steelers treated him and enough of Big Ben. Ben has teased retirement before and may do it after 2019 season if they take a step back.
          Bell may be taking a lower AAV at a higher tax rate (though it will be NJ, not NY/NYC), but if his workload is balanced and he’s happier and healthier, it’s a win for him.

          • troll_smasher

            Nowhere was there 33mil guaranteed from Steelers. Guy keep making it up. 17 mil was only guaranteed money in the contract. No, he didn’t set the market. Yes, he did forfeit 14.5 mil last year. No, he did not get abused last year w/400 touches. Yes, he got 35 mil guaranteed in money.

            • Roll

              link to cbssports.com … reportedly there was an offer of 33 guaranteed over first 2 years that was turned down. But i can say reportedly i offered him 50 billion over 18 lifetimes, so it all depends on if you trust the reporters at nfl.com.

          • crosseyedlemon

            More Dairy Queens in New York than Pittsburgh so don’t count on him getting healthier.

        • Roll

          I love having a top talent but honestly i would have rather he gone elsewhere. I think Bell personality will make it tough on Darnold. You can pretty much guarantee that bell stats will go down as he will have swiss cheese of an offensive line unless some big upgrades made and also bell will most likely have some rust being out a year and decline with age. He will get torn up by ny media and then he lashes out on darnold and the team.

          As a Jets fan, i hope i am wrong but as a jets fan i know our luck.

        • JT19

          What we don’t know is how much of the guarantees were only guaranteed for injury (in the Steelers’ two offers). Barring the details being leaked before a deal becomes official, the difference in actual guaranteed money and the money guaranteed in case of injury isn’t usually revealed until after the deal becomes official. Not saying the Steelers did this (just playing devil’s advocate here) but its possible a part of the guaranteed money offered by the Steelers was only guaranteed for injury. Considering the recent history of how the Steelers have handed out contracts (in regards to the guaranteed money) I have a hard time believing the Steelers would have changed their contract negotiation methods for someone that wasn’t Big Ben.

          • troll_smasher

            Ian rapopport reported that It was only 10mil fully guaranteed in the first year, with rolling guarantees that could make it 33 mil for two years. Also, the Steelers could release him after year one, meaning they could be done with him after one year

  3. brewcrewbernie

    So he was going to break the bank but didn’t even beat Gurley’s contract. Ok

  4. bowserhound

    Just glad it’s over. Can’t wait for him to complain about not winning.

  5. gozurman1

    Wonder what kind of shape Bell is in. While he was sitting and claiming he was coming in last season, he was looking far out of shape in some of the pics that were taken of him while he was in Florida. Will be interesting to see how he does, even if he is in shape considering he will have a new offensive scheme to work in with a whole new line that is not used to blocking for him as he is hesitating waiting for a hole to open. It worked with the Steelers line because the knew how he worked. The Jets linemen will have to learn how to block for him.

    • keyser_soze

      What type of shape does any NFL player need to be in in March? Though his IG videos show him working out daily with various players.

      • gozurman1

        I said he looked in horrible shape during last season when he was promising to come back and play. He does not have to be in perfect shape now. The main point of my post is how he will adapt to a new offense and linemen who do not know how yet to block for his unique style. Will be interesting how he does.

  6. Polish Hammer

    Way to stick to your guns and cash in on a much bigger payday with a much better team…

  7. Ronk325

    He’s going to struggle and be completely exposed outside of Pittsburgh. I Wouldn’t be surprised if Bell averages less than 4 YPC

    • crosseyedlemon

      The hype here is reminiscent of that in NY years ago when the Giants thought acquiring Csonka would lead them to success. I think the Jets are about to learn the same painful lesson.

  8. troll_smasher

    Accurate information is Stretch. Maybe the Final information usually turns out to be accurate, but from the beginning, middle, to end, not so much.

  9. PeterDipersio

    So, what will happen is bells last year with the jets on his contract, the jest will try to franchise him and he will sit out a whole year with the jets. If he will do it in Pittsburgh he will definitely do it in New Dork!

    • troll_smasher

      Why would the jets franchise a 31yr old RB? BUT, if they do, 14-16 mil for a 31yr old RB will probably be welcomed by the player.

  10. forwhomjoshbelltolls

    Many missing the forest for the trees…

    If Bell had played last year and has a good season, he would have made $14.5 million and been able to secure a much bigger deal now, likely in the $80-90 million range with $50-60 guaranteed.

    He got half of that.

    Also, they have this thing called insurance.

    Lev got bad advice and he took it.

    • Polish Hammer

      And all season long as the drama unfolded and comments were made about him missing out on a season of pay and playing through to a bigger payday the loudmouth trolls on here said how much he will cash in by betting on himself. LOL!!! He lost immensely on this one and looked like an @$$ in the process, damage done and hopefully others learned from his mistake.

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