Former Pittsburgh Steelers working again Le’Veon Bell plans to signal a four-year, $52.5 million contract with the New York Jets, a league supply informed ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The deal contains $35 million assured, with a most worth of near $61 million, together with incentives, a supply stated.
Bell, who has been coaching in South Florida, confirmed he could be becoming a member of the Jets in an Instagram submit late Tuesday evening, shortly after he launched an album:
Bell, who shocked the NFL by sitting out all the 2018 season on the franchise tag after failing to agree on a brand new contract final summer time, formally grew to become a free agent when Steelers normal supervisor Kevin Colbert opted to not place a franchise or transition tag on him for the 2019 season.
The 2-time All-Professional working again, after gaining almost 2,000 whole yards throughout the 2017 season, opted to eschew the $14.5 million franchise tag in 2018 — forgoing about $855,000 per sport — so he might protect his long-term viability for an enormous contract in free company this offseason.
A number of different groups have been stated to be interested by Bell, together with the San Francisco 49ers, who made a powerful supply and have been engaged in a wild tug-of-war with the Jets over the previous few hours, sources informed ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
However the Jets emerged because the front-runner late Tuesday. Not desirous to bid towards themselves, they held agency on their supply, a supply informed ESPN’s Wealthy Cimini.
Bell had used social media to interact with potential suitors, utilizing emojis to make oblique contact with the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens, amongst others. The Ravens by no means made him a suggestion, a supply informed Schefter.
Bell’s common wage per yr with the Jets, $13.25 million, would rank him second amongst working backs within the NFL, behind Todd Gurley’s $14.37 million common.
The Jets anticipate Bell to immediately improve an offense that completed 29th in whole yards and 26th in speeding yards. In addition they imagine he would be the excellent backfield mate for quarterback Sam Darnold due to his dual-threat capability.
Certain, the 27-year-old veteran working again brings some baggage to New York, however he is additionally a raffle price taking for a group desperately looking for wins.
Anthony Barr has determined to stay with the Vikings slightly than signal with the Jets, a supply confirmed to ESPN.
In ending Four-12 final season, which resulted in coach Todd Bowles’ ouster, the Jets produced solely two 100-yard speeding days — each by Isaiah Crowell. Crowell set the franchise single-game file with 219 yards in an October residence sport towards the Denver Broncos however disappeared for the rest of the season.
Crowell doubtless can be launched earlier than Friday, when $2 million of his $Four million base wage turns into assured. The backfield will include Bell, Elijah McGuire and Trenton Cannon.
The Jets have not had a 1,000-yard rusher since Chris Ivory in 2015. They have not had a runner with Bell’s talent set since Curtis Martin, an enormous free-agent signing from 1998 to 2005. Bell has stated that Martin, a Professional Soccer Corridor of Famer, was his idol as a child.
This has been a busy free-agency interval for the Jets, who’ve reached agreements with 4 gamers on offense: Bell; broad receivers Jamison Crowder and Josh Bellamy; and guard Kelechi Osemele (by way of commerce). On protection, they finalized a take care of Professional Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley.
Bell’s common of 128.9 whole yards per sport from 2013 to 2017 is the best for an NFL again over the primary 5 seasons of a profession for the reason that NFL-AFL merger in 1970. Throughout that span, he rushed for five,336 yards and 35 touchdowns, whereas catching 312 passes for two,660 yards and one other seven scores.
Rocky franchise-tag negotiations over the previous two years created distance between Bell and the Steelers. He missed coaching camp in 2017 when each side could not agree on a contract, and he ultimately performed on a $12.12 million franchise tag — speeding for 1,291 yards and 9 touchdowns, whereas catching 85 passes for 655 yards and two extra TDs.
After the 2017 season, Bell confirmed his conviction by turning down a five-year, $70 million supply due to what he referred to as a low true assure of $17 million, and he was capable of miss video games as a result of he was unsigned and thus not certain to the group.
The Steelers, who discovered success within the backfield final season with Professional Bowl choice James Conner and backup Jaylen Samuels, will obtain a 2020 compensatory choose for dropping Bell that may very well be price as excessive as a third-round choice.
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By sitting out the 2018 season, Bell, a three-time Professional Bowl choice, appropriately wager the Steelers would not place a 3rd consecutive franchise tag on him.
Gamers have been shocked when the All-Professional tailback did not present for Week 1, along with his personal offensive line ripping him for the absence. Guard Ramon Foster and heart Maurkice Pouncey each labeled the transfer egocentric. One veteran participant informed ESPN anonymously: “He f—ed us.” After tensions cooled, many gamers stated they might welcome Bell again.
At one level final season, Bell, who turned 27 in February, deliberate to play for the Steelers. He informed ESPN on Oct. 1, “I will be totally dedicated and provide you with the whole lot I’ve” upon returning, to “go on the market and win a Tremendous Bowl with the Steelers.”
However the Steelers explored dealing Bell earlier than the Oct. 30 commerce deadline, which could have affected his plans. No commerce was potential with out Bell’s signature.
All through this offseason, the Steelers appeared targeted extra on worth than a hope Bell would play in Pittsburgh once more. When requested in November what would occur if Bell by no means returns to the Steelers, coach Mike Tomlin stated merely, “So be it.”
The Jets host the Steelers subsequent season, in addition to former Pittsburgh star wideout Antonio Brown and the Oakland Raiders.
ESPN’s Wealthy Cimini and Jeremy Fowler contributed to this report.