Reviews are in on Le’Veon Bell’s new contract with the New York Jets. And they aren’t pretty for the former Steelers running back.
As you may recall, the Steelers offered Bell a five-year deal worth $70 million before last season. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport outlined that failed offer as a $10 million signing bonus, totaling $33 in guarantees over the first two years and $45 over the first three years.
While analyzing this news, keep in mind, Bell turned his nose up at a $14.54 million franchise tag to play last year. So he left the money on the table, plus he ditched a year of his career in his prime to make an extra $2 million in guaranteed cash before the end of 2019.
By the end of 2020 — before a potential work stoppage — he could have made more in Pittsburgh. That’s if things had gone well playing with a good offensive line, Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Br … uh, well, JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Furthermore, remember, it was Bell’s goal to rewrite the financial ceiling for NFL running backs. But, when Todd Gurley did so first back in July, that’s when Bell refused to play on the franchise tag.
Gurley got $45 million on an extension with the Rams. Adisa Bakari, Bell’s agent, said “something exceptional had happened,” before keeping Bell out of camp in July. It’s believed he was referring to Gurley’s deal and likely other large agreements that were settled around that time with defensive stars Khalil Mack and Aaron Donald.
So Bell’s goal adjusted to at least replicate that number. In the end, he’ll make $10 million less in guaranteed money, as well as leaving the $14.54 tag money behind.
Is that “exceptional,” Adisa?
Geez. Bell might have to pull a little money out of the jet ski fund to make ends meet now, huh?
Twitter seemed unimpressed with Bell’s new contract after a year of hype waiting for an alleged blockbuster.
Todd Gurley got $45M guaranteed.
Lev Bell – a year later – gets $35M guaranteed.
— Scott Hanson (@ScottHanson) March 13, 2019
He would have made more money there, guarantees or no guarantees. Some teams honor their deals much longer unless the player is a total flop. The steelers are one of them. We never hear about the Packers and guarantees. Its basically the same system there except for the QB.
— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) March 13, 2019
"[Bell] should have stayed with the Steelers. He should have signed the two contracts the Steelers offered him."
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) March 13, 2019
CBS Sports’ Will Brinson said, this is a “Big L” for Bell. Ripped his contract. Questioned his decision making. And even dissed his new rap album!
Now that was harsh.
Many were also quick to throw a few old quotes from Bell back in his face about the idea of playing for the Jets during last year’s absence.
Le'Veon Bell: 4 years, $52.5 million with the Jets.
Also Le'Veon Bell: pic.twitter.com/kOOZ1gThwz
— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) March 13, 2019
Le’Veon Bell once told TMZ it would take $100 million for him to play for the Jets. His price went down.
— Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) March 13, 2019
Le'Veon Bell: 'It would take me $100million to sign with the Jets'
Well, let's take a look how that turned out.
Oh no. pic.twitter.com/HnU2D0w6UC
— Daniel Valente (@StatsGuyDaniel) March 13, 2019
The Jets contract may have performance bonuses and things of that nature to cook up the numbers. But that shouldn’t matter in the analysis since Bakari, has long held the stance that guarantees are all that matter. So I don’t want to hear anything about incentives.
Plus, to catch Gurley, they’d have to be pretty “exceptional” bonuses, right?
Some tried to provide a little sympathy for ol’ Le’V.
— Neal Coolong (@NealCoolong) March 13, 2019
I don’t feel sorry for him and never will. You can say he just got bad advice from a bad agent, but the way he acted along the way offsets any sympathy I would’ve had.
After playing the victim card, taking jabs at the team on Twitter after bad games, the snarky rap lyrics, the bait and switch about reporting last year, and the Martin Luther King quote, forget it. I’m not apologizing for enjoying a little schadenfreude here.