After over a full year of speculation on where Le’Veon Bell would be playing when it was clear that he wasn’t going to be in Pittsburgh long-term, we finally have an answer to where Bell will be playing football, and that answer is New York, with the Jets. The move was first reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN.
The deal the Jets are getting Bell on, according to Schefter, is a four-year deal, worth $52.5 million that has a max value of $61 million and includes $35 million guaranteed.
The fact that Bell took this whole last season off could be a concern because he could come back a little rusty, but the great part for the Jets and for Bell is that he didn’t add a year of wear-and-tear to his body because he got a lot of touches when he was playing in years prior.
Bell has been an All-Pro twice in his career and of the five seasons that he’s played in he’s rushed for over 1,200 yards three times and has went over 600 yards receiving three times.
Now that was playing in one of the better offenses in the league with a Hall of Fame quarterback, with very good receivers, including Antonio Brown, and a very good offensive line. So it’ll be interesting to see how well he will perform for the Jets with a quarterback who only has one season under his belt and on a team who hasn’t competed for much of anything in a while.
For Sam Darnold this is a big deal in my opinion because it should give him an improved running game from a team who ranked 29th in the league in yards per attempt this past season and on top of that it will give him a really nice security blanket in the passing game.
Before sitting out last season Bell was one of the top-five running backs in the league and frankly, this is a really cheap deal to be able to sign Bell on. It’s also good for Bell because he gets more long-term stability than he was going to get in Pittsburgh when they just kept trying to use the franchise tag on him. Now he will have at least a couple of years before the $35 million in guaranteed money runs out and if he’s still productive at that point he could hit the free agent market again, or get a new deal with the Jets, or even continue to play under this new contract.
Usually I’m not a fan of when high-profile players go to a team that hasn’t been good in some time, but this deal is actually really good value for the Jets. That’s not saying they’re going to end the Patriots run of dominance in the AFC East or make the playoffs as a wild card team or even be .500, but they’ll still have a lot of cap space after this move is processed so this isn’t going to totally destroy this cap space and they should have room to go out and make some other moves.
It’s fairly surprising that Bell didn’t get more, but now the Jets have a star on the roster and have instantly improved their offense.
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