The Jets are doing backflips after dominating the Le’Veon Bell deal.
The details of Bell’s four-year, $52.5 million pact revealed exactly how well the team did to secure one of the game’s most dynamic players.
The specifics of the contract also cast doubt on the wisdom of Bell’s decision to sit out the entire 2018 season rather than accept the Steelers’ five-year, $70 million offer last summer or play on the $14.5 million franchise tag.
The bottom line: Gang Green got their man at their price. They were aggressive without being reckless.
The deal includes an $8 million signing bonus as part of the $25 million guaranteed right now. Bell will earn $14.5 million in cash in 2019 and $26 million in cash through the first two years. That’s the fully guaranteed portion of the deal. In essence, it’s a two-year, $26 million deal. That’s a clear win for the Jets.
The 27-year-old Bell was hoping to land $48 million in the first three years, but settled for $39.5 million in this deal.
By comparison, the Steelers offer had higher cumulative cash payouts through Year 1 ($19.5 million), 2 ($33 million) and 3 ($45 million).
Translation: Bell is a wealthy man, but he made a poor business decision in hindsight.
The Jets won on multiple levels. Not only did they get a solid deal that includes only guaranteed money through the first two years, but they got a player who didn’t add any mileage on his body last season.
Bell’s base salaries will be $2 million, $6.5 million, $10 million and $9.5 million. He won’t be eating up much salary cap space in the first two years, either. Bell’s year-by-year cap charges: $8.5 million in 2019, $13.5 million in 2020, $15.5 million in 2021 and $15 million in 2022.
The Jets added incentives and escalators to potentially sweeten the pot for Bell. He can earn up to $1.5 million each season based on rushing and receiving yards and playoff incentives. From 2020-2022, he can earn $550,000 in escalators for rushing and receiving yards, winning NFL Offensive Player of Year and NFL MVP.
He will also get a $31,250 roster bonus payment each game that he is on the 46-man game-day roster for all four years. So, he can earn up to $500,000 each year with those bonuses from 2019-2022.
Bell’s full guaranteed money runs out after the first two years, but there are $3 million training camp reporting bonuses in 2021 and 2022.