Le'Veon Bell is out of Pittsburgh and onto greener pastures in New Jersey.
Unfortunately for him, they're only greener in the colloquial sense. The money was in Pittsburgh all along, and that point was made clear Thursday when specific details of Bell's new contract with the Jets emerged.
Over the course of his new four-year deal, Bell will earn a maximum of $61 million. In his first two years, Bell will make $26 million, $25 million of which is guaranteed. That's where the guaranteed money ends. The offer the Steelers made Bell before last season — five years for $70 million — included $33 million in Bell's first two years, $20.5 million of which was guaranteed in the first year.
Warren Sharp summarized it all beautifully in this table:
Le’Veon Bell chose door 3.
Door 3 instead of the Steelers offer (door 1) or the tag (door 2). Per @JoeBanner13 it “may be the worst contract decision we have ever seen a player make”. This assumes, of course, earning money in your prime is a goal. pic.twitter.com/k0H5UGxTN3
I try to be Mr. Positivity. I'm searching for a way this makes sense for Bell. It just ... doesn't. Bell took a gamble, and he lost. The numbers showcase that perfectly, and even when considering the much discussed variable of guaranteed money, he still lost. The small difference there doesn't make up for the overall gap in pay — and that's without even considering the $14.5 million he coughed up by sitting out the entire 2018 season.
The only way this can be seen as a positive for Bell is if he just needed out of Pittsburgh that badly. You can't put a price on happiness, as they say, but if he's happier in the Meadowlands, he's still making plenty of money to live his life.