Le’Veon Bell has been a Steelers running back for 6 years and 5 active seasons. After a salary disagreement with the Steelers, Bell decided to sit out for an entire season to now come back with the Jets on a $52.5 million deal split over the course of 4 years.
Why did Le’Veon leave the Steelers?
The Pittsburgh Steelers offered Bell $70 million over a 5-year contract with $30 million guaranteed over 2 years. This offer would have made Bell the highest-paid running back in the NFL.
Bell’s agent, Adisa Bakari, says that the Steelers have not guaranteed money after the first year of the contract. The $14.5 million franchise tag would have put Le’Veon in risk of being cut off from the Steelers after 2018 with $10 million guaranteed.
Ian Rapoport discloses:
Mentioned yesterday the #Steelers final offer to RB Le’Veon Bell was 5 years, $70M. More context today: The fully guaranteed part was his signing bonus of just over $10M. He would’ve made $33M over the 1st two years — in a rolling guaranteed structure. $45M over the 1st 3 years.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 17, 2018
Le’Veon felt like it wasn't a fair deal for him and wanted to be paid at the same level as any other top NFL player, as opposed to the numbers offered to running backs in general. He took a stand for it and lost money in the process.
At the same time, this way Le’Veon avoided any injuries that could have occurred in 2018, giving him more leverage.
Justin Forsett, retired NFL running back says he was impressed by Bell’s decision to refuse the offer: “Being a running back and seeing most guys cave in when it comes to contract negotiations, I was impressed that he stuck to his guns. He bet on himself”.
What did the Jets offer Le’Veon?
The Jets offer a $52.5 million over 4 years deal that can get up to $61 million in incentives and $35 million of that is guaranteed.
So Bell will end up losing money on the deal but probably earning more stability over time.
However, from a football perspective, he is a good fit for the Jets. Everyone is looking forward to seeing how he’ll perform outside of the Steelers’ bubble.
He was a star in Pittsburgh making history with 129 yards from scrimmage/game. However, much of it has to do with the talented players he was surrounded by.
With Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa not commanding the attention that Antoni Brown does and with the Jets offensive line not as deep as the Steelers, how will Le’Veon do?
What does Le’Veon bring to the Jets?
According to ESPN, the Jets expect Bell to upgrade their offense that finished 29th in total yards and 26th in rushing yards.
Bell’s presence will also have a great influence on quarterback Sam Darnold. It will open the play-action for him and can also help him as a target. Darnold did really well last season with talented players around him, so it will be fun to see what this dynamic duo can do when on the field.
We’re as excited as he is to see how he’ll do with the New York Jets.
I’m back in the green baby, let’s get it— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) March 13, 2019