Steelers offered Le’Veon Bell $47 million over three years

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The window closed on the Steelers signing running back Le'Veon Bell to a long-term deal nearly three months ago. Before it closed, the Steelers were prepared to commit paying $47 million over three years to Bell, a league source tells PFT.

And as to the notion that only $10 million would have been fully guaranteed, at a time when the 2018 franchise tender for Bell is $14.54 million, the package included a $10 million roster bonus due not long after signing, making the practical guarantee $20 million. The Steelers would have avoided that payment only by cutting Bell within days after giving him $10 million to sign.

The cash flow beyond the initial $20 million still isn’t known, and neither is the amount that would have been guaranteed for injury only. Still, if Bell shows up for Week Seven and if he gets the full amount of his remaining franchise tender for 2018 (roughly $9 million), he’ll need to get $38 million over the first two years of a contract signed on the open market, in order to get to where he would have been — assuming that the Steelers would have kept him for three full years under the terms of the long-term deal.

The duration and structure of the contract beyond 2020 also would be a factor. If Bell had collected $47 million over the first three years, what would he have gotten in 2021 and 2022, if it were a five-term package? It’s possible the Steelers wanted team-friendly terms in the outer years of the deal.

Regardless, Bell rejected the offer. And his goal continues to be to get to the open market healthy enough to cash in. He’ll need to cash in significantly, in order to get to where he’d been, if he’d accepted the team’s final offer.

Maybe he will. Maybe there’s a team out there that will pay him something more than anyone imagines. We’ll find out the answer come March 2019, assuming he gets his long-awaited chance to see what’s out there.

49 responses to “Steelers offered Le’Veon Bell $47 million over three years

  1. 20 mil guaranteed over three years?

    That’s less than seven mil a year.

    I like the spin though.

    Bell is going to get 9 million just for showing up in week 7. Smart man.

  2. This is what I thought, that financially Bell could have better off accepting the Steelers offer. I am not so sure he will get $38M for the first 2 years from another team. But of course his issue was the amount of the guarantee, although barring a career ending injury I am sure the Steelers would have kept him and paid it out. He may get someone to guarantee more than the Steelers did. But as long as he didn’t suffer a career ending injury, he may likely have made more with the Steelers by accepting their offer, and possibly played behind a better OL and with better offensive talent at QB, WR, etc. And Steelers have (at least had!) a great chance to get to the Super Bowl this year, will his next team enable him to do that? The whole situation has been an unfortunate mess, distraction and negative for everyone including the team and Bell.

  3. If you have half a brain financially seems to me you’d be set for life or thereabouts. Bulls and bears get rich but pigs go broke as they say. It will be interesting to see how this power play evolves but the smart money says “the man” wins.

  4. This is getting comical. I think he’s in for a bit of a shock when he hits the open market. He’ll get good offers – just not nearly as good as he’s thinking.

  5. Bell may have done $64 million over 4 years with $22 million guaranteed. Bell always feared the Steelers depreciating his knees down to nothing when he hit 30 and lost his value. A 3-year deal is what the Steelers want and Bell probably wants a 5-year deal. Maybe a compromise to a 4-year deal would have gotten it done. Most other teams would have dealt him for a first round pick when that value was still there.

  6. doggz109 says:
    October 5, 2018 at 1:01 pm
    RBs are a dime a dozen. He should have taken the offer.
    ===================================================
    It’s funny how the Steelers can’t run the ball now that he’s not there.

  7. “20 mil guaranteed over three years?

    That’s less than seven mil a year.”

    You don’t understand the math. That’s the guarantee, but had he played out the 3 years he would have received 47 mil or over 15.5 mil a season.

    I believe Bell will end up losing money as a result of his holdout. He will not get any team to pay him more than what the Steelers offered and if he keeps playing it will be for less.

  8. This is losing. Not to mention he is going to be a year older. Everyone sees what he is doing to the Steelers. That absolutely will be in the back of a GMs mind when he signs Bell. How long will he be ok with the contract he gets? Will that team also have to put up with holdouts after he has his guaranteed money? I don’t know. He is a great talent but that’s a ton of drama.

  9. “tdubdizzle says:
    October 5, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    Bell is going to get 9 million just for showing up in week 7. Smart man.”

    And had he signed, he’d have about 22.3 million in the bank at the end of this season. With another 25 million coming over the next two years.

    Instead, he’ll pocket 9 million by the end of this season, with no guarantee of anything after that. And what if he blows a knee out in say, game 12?

    You and I have very different definitions of “smart.”

  10. Another in a long line of Spartan ballers. I find it hilarious that so many of you get so worked up about a situation that has absolutely no bearing on your lives. He’s one of the 5 best players in the league and he’s trying to get a contract with a lot of guaranteed money. The team has absolutely no qualms about overusing him and running his body into the ground so he’s trying to cash in while he still can. Is this really so hard to understand?

  11. Bell has INCREASED his value by sitting out. The Steelers offense without him is a mess. AB is non existent and Big Ben looks lost back there. Also, where’s ju ju? Funny what having a world talent in the backfield can do for you. You miss Bell yet Steeler nation? You’ll be in last place by the time Bell comes back. Then Steelers will start winning and Bells value goes through the roof this summer!

  12. The dollars/year are comparable to Gurley’s $60 million for 4. Sure there are other issues like guaranteed money and 1 more year, but Gurley is 2 years younger, has no history of suspensions for drugs and played for $12 million last year (Gurley made 1.7).

    I’d be surprised to see anyone off him more especially with his baggage.

  13. As a fantasy owner I am frustrated, but I don’t blame him at all. The Steelers would have run him into the ground this year like Dallas did with Murray a couple of years ago. He understands the RB business and is trying to get himself to the only big payday he will have coming in this league. This is not rah-rah high school or college football. This is the big business NFL where the ruthless owners will discard you like a piece of garbage the instant you are no longer useful. That said I still hope he comes back and gets 35 touches a game for my own selfish interests

  14. I don’t care how good you are, you don’t mess with the Steelers. They made a fair offer and he declined. Good luck with that, Bell. Don’t let the exit door hit you on the way out.

  15. staffordisbetterthanyourteamsqb says:
    Another in a long line of Spartan ballers. I find it hilarious that so many of you get so worked up about a situation that has absolutely no bearing on your lives.
    – – – – – – – – – – –
    Remind me, how are Charles Rogers and Jeff Smoker doing these days?

  16. Indianapolis Colts are going to sign Bell and to exactly what he wants. Did you see that game last night?

  17. Amusing how Pittsburgh’s front office keeps leaking these offers to not appear cheap and incompetent, which is exactly what they were. Todd Gurley got $45 million guaranteed and Pittsburgh expected Bell to accept $20. And Bell is the bad guy.

    Kevin Colbert absolutely butchered this situation by being cheap. And if Bell is so replaceable, why not save that $14 million franchise tag and spend that money on the defense? Looks like they could’ve used it.

  18. pastabelly says:
    October 5, 2018 at 1:17 pm
    doggz109 says:
    October 5, 2018 at 1:01 pm
    RBs are a dime a dozen. He should have taken the offer.
    ===================================================
    It’s funny how the Steelers can’t run the ball now that he’s not there.

    ———-

    6 carries for 20 yards says he they couldn’t run it in the AFCCG either….with Bell

    I can’t believe the Steelers made him the reported offer. What’s worse is that he declined it!

  19. Bell should really have signed on his first franchise tender. Good faith negotiation last year and get his security as soon as possible.

    He has gone the extreme hardball route and is not giving up more than he can ever earn back.

  20. The sad fact is that most RBs are done physically when they hit 30, everyone knows this. Bell should have taken that deal and been smart with the money. No one is going to give him the money he wants because no RB is worth that kind of money.
    He’ll find this out when he hits free agency.

  21. It will be odd if he comes back. He is sitting out to save his body. When he comes back the Steelers will play him like they have, until the wheels come off.

    Will be interesting to see if he has hesitation when he returns after seeing they will still run him at 24+ touches a game (pace for a 400+ touch season). Will he balk at the play selection.

  22. I hope Bell ends up with a big fat contract with a division rival.
    He’s a very good player, but the cost is prohibitive, and he’s getting a bit old for a RB.

  23. “…The team has absolutely no qualms about overusing him and running his body into the ground so he’s trying to cash in while he still can. Is this really so hard to understand?.”
    ————————————————
    That time has already past, is that so hard to understand?

  24. Bell will probably regret not taking that offer now that the whole NFL knows that he is a “me first” kind of player. I don’t ever recall a player being worried about too many touches until this guy came along. A running back’s career is short. That money would have lasted a few lifetimes, if he managed it right.

  25. “a league source”. A league source with an agenda? If true it is a lot of money and at some point you have to get that your employer is only going to pay so much. Otherwise it looks like he really wants out of Pittsburgh.

  26. Would be interesting to put transition tag on him… match the deal which will probably be much lower then trade him ….

  27. staffordisbetterthanyourteamsqb says:
    October 5, 2018 at 1:33 pm
    Another in a long line of Spartan ballers. I find it hilarious that so many of you get so worked up about a situation that has absolutely no bearing on your lives. He’s one of the 5 best players in the league and he’s trying to get a contract with a lot of guaranteed money. The team has absolutely no qualms about overusing him and running his body into the ground so he’s trying to cash in while he still can. Is this really so hard to understand?
    ========================

    If the concern was overuse and cashing in while he can he could have negotiated a fair extension in 2017. Instead he demanded to be paid like a top RB + a top WR, which is absurd.

  28. They need to stop even acknowledging Bells existence and get on with their losing season. Whether he signed or not is totally immaterial. They have a terrible coaching staff and if they had the talent this group of misfits wouldn’t have any idea what to do with it. They Head Coach is a cheerleader, the Defensive Coordinator has turned the Steel Curtain into the Silk Drapes and the Offensive Coordinator is so bad it is offensive to even call him a coordinator since he’s basically turned the entire offense over to Ben & said do whatever you want to do. Together these three yahoo’s are in the bottom 1/3rd of coaching staff’s in the entire NFL – just ask the Alumni – privately they will tell you the same thing – except for Bradshaw who will tell you in the public with no hesitation.

  29. First of all, let’s face it. No amount of money the Steelers could have offered him, short of QB-type money, was going to satisfy Bell. He has already stated that he feels he should be paid what a #1 RB AND a #1 WR makes–combined.

    Todd Gurley signed a four year, $57.5M contract extension with $21.95M guaranteed ($21M signing bonus). It also includes a roster bonus of $7.55M the first year of the extension and $5M the last three. His salary for those four years will be $17.25M, $13.2M, $14.2M and $10.449M. His total contract now will pay out $71.5M over the next six years.

    My guess is Bell would have turned this down as well because the extension would average “only” less than $15M per year. That’s fine. He’s free to do what he’s doing now. The problem is Bell is 26–two years older than Gurley. Any four-year contract would take him to 30. I’d be surprised if any team is willing to fork over a bunch of guaranteed money over four years. Additionally, the way he has handled this may mean some teams aren’t interested at all–especially at his asking price. He may find out he’s not going to get nearly as much as he thinks he should get. He may think he’s worth QB money but that’s not going to happen. It’ll be interested to see what he gets next March. My guess is he might have been better just staying with the Steelers.

  30. Hue Jackson gets fired.

    Todd Haley gets elevated to head coach.

    Browns sign Bell.

    Book it.

  31. Bell it’s all bad and greedy. If teams had more franchise tags you would see tons more holdouts. They’re paying him above average and he’s worth more than the average salary of the top 5 RBs. You under pay somebody, they don’t work for you for long. It’s simple really.

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