Breaking down Le’Veon Bell’s contract: Why Jets won this negotiation


Le’Veon Bell talked about resetting the running back market when he turned down a long-term deal from the Steelers and sat out last season rather than playing on a franchise tag. His gamble did not pay off. Here is a look at the details of Bell’s four-year, $52.5 million contract, which show the Jets clearly won this negotiation:

  • Bell will earn $26 million in the first two years of the contract, $25 million is guaranteed at signing. There is no guaranteed money after the second year, making this essentially a two-year, $26 million deal. The deal he turned down with the Steelers last year included $33 million in the first two years and $20.5 million guaranteed in the first year.
  • Bell received a signing bonus of $8 million, which makes his first-year cash earnings $14.5 million. That is what he would have earned last year on the franchise tag.
  • The payout through three years is $39.5 million. The Steelers’ offer would have paid him $45 million over the first three years.
  • The Jets put in $3 million report bonuses for training camp in 2021 and 2022, essentially guarding against a holdout after the guaranteed money is up.
  • His base salaries are $2 million, $6.5 million, $10 million and $9.5 million. His salary cap charges are $8.5 million, $13.5 million, $15.5 million and $15 million.
  • He gets a $31,250 roster bonus payment for each game he is on the 46-man game-day roster. He could earn an extra $500,000 per year.
  • There are incentives in the deal. He can earn up to $1.5 million each year based on rushing and receiving yards and playoff incentives. There are also $550,000 in escalators for rushing and receiving yards and winning the NFL Offensive Player of the Year and MVP from 2020-22.
  • ReadMore…