Le’Veon Bell says he’s happy with his deal. Should he be?
Le’Veon Bell finally got paid a major contract. But was that contract big enough? The running back will play in the NFL again. But will it be for a desirable team in the New York Jets?
Bell told the Associated Press that he’s “happy” with the contract he got and that he “woke up feeling amazing” about how his free agency saga concluded. Here’s more of what Bell said, via the AP:
“The decision I made is the decision I would do all over again,” he said. “I don’t regret anything that happened. Everything has happened for a reason up until this point. Who’s to say if I played last year, if I do go out there and play on a one-year franchise tag and I do get hurt, do I end up in this position today, being with the New York Jets on a beautiful deal?
“Even on the other side of it, if I go out there and play on the franchise tag and I get another 400 carries … and I come out of the season healthy, who’s to say what team is going to take me after another 400 carries? So, like I said, I’ve contemplated everything I’ve done. … I don’t regret one thing. I’m happy where I’m at and the decision I made and I’m glad I’m here.”
RelatedHow the Jets can justify spending big money on Le’Veon BellLe’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown showed us you shouldn’t ‘shut up and play’
Bell took an almost unprecedented approach to contract negotiations. Because he was unhappy with the Pittsburgh Steelers contract offer in July, Bell declined the deal, and elected to hold out for the entire 2018 season. Had he participated in the team’s offseason and regular season last season, he would have earned $14.54 million on the franchise tag, a fully guaranteed, one-year deal. Instead, he didn’t have any earnings. The rationale was that he could make more money on the open market during 2019 free agency, where his earnings could exceed the Steelers’ contract offer and the franchise tag.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
The Steelers’ offer was supposedly a five-year deal worth $70 million. I say supposedly, because the Bell breakup was an ugly one, and it would behoove Pittsburgh to sabotage their former running back with misinformation. Whatever the case, we know Bell passed on a Steelers extension and signed a four-year deal worth $52.5 million with a whopping $25 million guaranteed immediately. For running backs, especially, the guaranteed dollars are the most important sum. And the Steelers’ deal included just $10 million guaranteed in the first year according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Over the first two years of the Steelers’ offer, Bell would have made $33 million, per Rapoport — but, again, only $10 million would have been immediately guaranteed. The other guarantees in that deal were reportedly what’s known as rolling guarantees, which means they kick in later in the contract — make them not, in fact, …read more