Le’Veon Bell finally got his long-term deal on Tuesday, agreeing to a reported four-year, $52.5 million contract with the New York Jets, according to ESPN.
The deal can reach up to $61 million and has $35 million in guaranteed money, according to the report.
Bell announced his excitement over the deal and being “back in the green” on Twitter.
I’m back in the green baby, let’s get it
— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) March 13, 2019
Bell’s deal falls short for some
While Bell was publicly excited, some on Twitter weren’t impressed. Bell played hardball with the Pittsburgh Steelers and sat the entire 2018 season unpaid when he could have made close to $14.5 million in guaranteed money on the franchise tag.
With the final long-term offer from the Steelers reportedly being for five years and $70 million, many on Twitter believe that Bell ended up playing himself in the long run.
Bell did not set new RB market
Bell wanted to set a new market for running backs and ended up settling for less guaranteed money than the four-year, $60 million deal Todd Gurley signed with the Los Angeles Rams last offseason that included $45 million in guarantees.
Consider Twitter less than impressed.
Le'Veon Bell had over $15 million per on the table with the Steelers in July. Walked away from $14.54 million after that. Not great decision-making.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 13, 2019
le’veon bell sat out for a year just to sign to the jets for less money than the steelers offered him
all of pittsburgh: pic.twitter.com/LAS42LpFnx
— GOAT Moves (@GoatMoves) March 13, 2019
Le'Veon Bell really turned down $70 million to go run with the Jets and go 6-10 every year for $52 million. Guy clowned himself sitting the year out.
— Jared Glaser (@Glaser2_) March 13, 2019
Le’Veon Bell’s goal was to set a new market for NFL RBs.
All Bell did was sign for less than Pittsburgh offered him per year, and $10 million LESS in guarantees than Todd Gurley got in 2018.
Le still got paid, but he lost the bet. https://t.co/Z9v5IpA5J1
— George Balekji (@GeorgeBalekji) March 13, 2019
Le'Veon Bell thought he was bigger than his position and experimented.. applaud the effort, but RB’s grow on trees dude.
— Jameson P. Ruppel (@JamesonRuppel) March 13, 2019
A true tale of two aspects… Ut works in Antonio Brown's favor but Le'Veon Bell..smh..He walked away from 1yr/$14M, 3yr/$45M, & 5yr/$70M ($33M in 1st 2yrs) w/Steelers just to sign with some bums for 4yrs/$52.5M ($35M guarented)..Guess his value wasn't what he thought it'd be….
— LaKeith Jackson (@L_Jack78) March 13, 2019
Le’Veon bell’s contract is sooooooo bad for him. He’s a great player but he really over valued himself as a second contact running back and it cost him a ton
— Daniel Salib (@salibdaniel1) March 13, 2019
NFL contracts are never simple
Of course, as is always the case with NFL deals, looking at the top-line numbers doesn’t come close to painting the entire picture.
The Steelers did reportedly offer Bell five years and $70 million. But that’s a deal he was highly unlikely to see the end of. And the guaranteed money on that offer — “just over $10 million” — was reportedly significantly lower than what Bell ended up getting with the Jets.
Had he seen the first two years of the contract through, he would have reportedly been paid $33 million, which seems a likely scenario. But again, it wasn’t guaranteed.
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
It’s all about the guarantees
And the guarantees appear to be the crux of Bell’s beef with the Steelers. He wanted long-term security. The Steelers didn’t offer it. They parted ways.
But barring a serious injury he could have suffered last season, there’s almost zero question Bell cost himself money. His deal with the Jets isn’t going to make up for the nearly $14.5 million he would have made playing football last year.
But Bell came out of that year with less wear and tear and avoided that risk of a career-changing injury.
In the end, he got a big payday with the New York Jets. He’s happy — or at least he acts like he is. Jets fans are happy.
Steelers fans are not. And that’s fine. That’s how football works.
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