Last week, Jacob Bell walked away from the NFL after eight seasons. But he now admits to Peter King of SI.com that, if Bell were due to earn big money this year, he likely would have kept playing.
Under the deal Bell signed in 2008 with the Rams, he was due to earn $6 million in 2012. Instead, he was going to make $825,000, the veteran minimum for a ninth-year player with the Bengals.
And so King was direct with Bell: “If you were on your previous contract with the Rams, due to make $6 million this year, would you have retired?”
“That’s a very good question,” Bell replied. “And therein lies the problem. How can you say when you’re being offered so much money, the kind of money that can secure your future, to play football? So of course it played a role.”
It’s the magnitude of the cash that keeps plenty of guys in the game. “I guarantee you if you asked every player in the NFL if they’d do it for $500,000 a year, a lot of them would do something else,” Bell said.
That’s not entirely accurate. Plenty of young players are on the small side of 500 large, but they’re still lining up in droves to play.
Still, the game could see more guys like Jacob Bell walk away once the big money dries up — if, of course, they’ve saved enough of it so that they don’t need to play for $825,000 or $500,000 or whatever they can get.