How much will Le’Veon Bell get?

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Running back Le'Veon Bell said last night that he’s “so torn” regarding “decisions” he needs to make. Presumably, he’s talking about two or more teams from which to choose for 2019 and beyond and not what he was planning to have for dinner.

Wherever he ends up going, the biggest question will be whether his new contract will justify skipping all of 2018 and giving up the $14.54 million he would have made from the Steelers. While many will look to the average value of his next contract to answer that question, the real question will be how much of the deal will be fully guaranteed at signing and (given the position he plays) how much will be guaranteed for injury.

Ultimately, that’s what Bell was trying to preserve: The guaranteed money that he would make on a multi-year deal negotiated on the open market, with no restrictions or other devices that would reduce his overall haul. So then the question becomes whether the $14.54 million that was sacrificed in 2018 in the name of preserving Bell’s body will be outweighed by whatever he gets now.

It won’t be an easy analysis to perform, and reasonable minds will differ on whether he gets enough to make missing a full year, and the money that went along with it, worthwhile. Besides, the naysayers likely will be inclined to focus more closely on the average value of the deal — and the closer it is to $14.54 million, the more ammunition they’ll have to say the missed season was a failure for Bell. Even if that’s really not the way to look at it.

Regardless, he could still get significantly more than $14.54 million per year. Look at some of the deals that already have been done (or at least that unofficially will be done). The money is flowing; without naming names, plenty of guys who aren’t nearly as potent or effective as Le’Veon Bell have cashed in. Bell should, too, and don’t be surprised if he’s north of $17 million per year.

35 responses to “How much will Le’Veon Bell get?

  1. So, at a minimum he needs a deal similar to Kwon Alexander for money to make sense (4yr/$54M) but up the guarantee to $30-32M over first two years (instead of $27M). Makes it 2yrs at $15-16M avg each. Options for years 3 and 4 after that.

    He gets his money and another chance at free agency in two years and the team that picks him up gets a shot at using one of the best RBs in the league for two years.

    But then again, I am just a MMQB, keyboard warrior. Not a GM or an agent. haha

  2. “It won’t be an easy analysis to perform, and reasonable minds will differ on whether he gets enough to make missing a full year”

    Already making excuses? No, he will not recover a full year of missing wages. Any contract he gets this year will be the same contract he would’ve gotten anyways after playing a year on the franchise tag. The new team won’t be paying him a bonus for skipping last year.

  3. It’s difficult to see Le’Veon Bell getting anywhere near what he wants? It seems that teams are starting to question his desire to play and commitment to the game?
    They also have the Todd Gurley example to look at. No sooner does Gurley get the big contract from the Rams, than he is injured and of no use to them in the playoffs. And now reports are that he has arthritis in his knee, which could seriously impact his future play/production, and possibly even compromise the length his career?
    I have said before that you do not ‘break the bank’ for a RB, and see no reason to retract that statement. Having 2-3 good backs to rely on is the better way to go.

  4. Guaranteed money is his “overall haul”. Guaranteed money is the floor for what he can earn. He turned down multiple offers from the Steelers because he didn’t like the floor, however he left 14.5 million guaranteed on the table last year and the Steelers have the highest total contract payout of any team in the league. So you can harp on the guaranteed money all you want, but Steelers players realize a higher percentage of their contracts than any other players in the league and he stepped away from that and 14.5 million because he wanted a higher floor.

  5. > the biggest question will be whether his new contract will justify skipping all of 2018 and giving up the $14.54 million he would have made from the Steelers

    It was a mistake to sit out. The risk of serious injury wasn’t that high. His body still aged a year. He could have shown up the day before the season started and avoided all risk of injury during pre-season, plus pre-season wear and tear.

    Look at it this way, suppose he gets 15MM guaranteed (15MM/3 years).
    What was the chance of an injury serious enough to jeopardize that?
    Worst case scenario, he earns the 14.5, gets hurt and misses one year.
    Then he plays on 1 year prove it deals for less. In that case he misses out on say 5MM / year, so 2 years. So he makes 14.5 + 0 + 10 + 10 – and comes out 10MM behind.
    But if he doesn’t have that injury, he mays 14.5 + 45.

    The risk of serious injury in 16 games for him is what? 5%?

  6. “don’t be surprised if he’s north of $17 million per year.” Regardless of your warning, I *will* be surprised if he gets north of 17 per year.

  7. i hope he gets the prevailing minimum wage at McDonalds’. that is what he deserves after turning down 14 million last season.

  8. With the increasing nonsense of escalating salaries, the hard cap, and unfettered free agency, I would support a hard pay grid for each position on a roster or a hard percentage of the cap to each position with one, two year contracts. This is not a good solution but I do believe for teams to survive, there must be something drastically done to save the game from itself. The hard cap was an attempt at control. It has been proven just a necessary step. Old defensive linemen command what top quarterbacks were paid just a few short years ago.

  9. Bell’s new contract will also tell us how much Zeke going to demand Jerry to pay him. As a Cowboys fan, I hope Bell contract isn’t north of 17 million like you claim or expect it might be. I wont be surprised if he get $13-15 Million. What he gonna do? sit out again and add another year to his age which will also brings his value down?

  10. Bell is stuck making the HARD I play for a team thats not very good and make a great payday…or sign with a GOOD team making less money. He’s gonna take the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

  11. More than $14.54 million per year… el oh el. I hope he does! It’d have to be a team with a QB on a Rookie salary.

  12. I will personally be surprised if he comes out ahead. I get guaranteed versus average value but there is also something called the time value of money. It’s why most people who win the lottery choose the lump sum option.

    Yes guaranteed money is important, but it is almost like buying GEICO. If he doesn’t need it due to injury and such then that money from 2018 is fundamentally lost. Top paid back is Gurley and he is like $500k more, 3/4 guaranteed over 4 years. Seriously why would a team do much more than that? Like AB, as good as Bell is, Steelers have never gone to the SB with him (and in this case, both of them) so what would the incentive be to overpay?

    As a GM I would tailor the contract after Gurley’s, not Cousins. Someone will see it differently and pay him, without understanding that good on the Steelers doesn’t mean good on say, the Jets, but in this scenario that $14.5M is just lost.

  13. With all the cap money being available, I thought somebody would sign Bell by now. I’ve said in the past that he passed up more money from the Steelers that he would get in free agency . Passed up 14 1/2 million dollars last year. Maybe the new team wants to give him a puff test. All year long he was saying when he would report to the team. And for some reason he did not show. He gave his reasons but none of them make sense.Being tested and failing would have ruined his value. Just saying .

  14. Very soon all of these jealous Steele fans are gonna choke on crow after this man breaks the bank and their organization is exposed as a bunch of cheap lowlifes. Enjoy 6-10 this year, Le’Veon says hi.

  15. I don’t assume he’ll get anything. If he doesn’t get an offer he considers worthy, will he play?

  16. “The money is flowing”. True, for non running backs, the money is flowing. Frank Gore got what, $2 million? Not saying Gore is better at this stage than Bell, but you say not to be surprised if Bell gets $17 million. I don’t think Bell or pretty much any running back is worth $15 million more than $2 million. I will be surprised if he gets $17 million plus, despite your warning.

  17. What was the offered contract from the Steelers that he wouldn’t sign? The franchise tag wasn’t the only option. Will he be offered more than what the Steelers were willing to pay?

  18. He’ll get paid plenty. I don’t begrudge him that. If he played this year, his value may have gone down (injury) or up (actually doing something in the playoffs?), but that’s all speculation at this point.
    Will he be worth it to the team that pays him? He’ll sell some tickets. I don’t know that he really adds wins unless the team is already strong in other areas and isn’t relying on him to do it all.

  19. The Steelers ended up getting a third rounder and 2/5 rounders for the best wide receiver in the best running back in the game

  20. Ok so Bell wants to go where he can get paid #1 and win #2. Whatever team it is has to be able to afford him.

    NYJ • QB on cheap rookie contract & a huge market to make extra cash, team has plenty of dough. But the NYJ ain’t going anywhere anytime soon. Money talks though & good chance he signs there.

    HOU • Team ready to win now. Watson, Hopkins, Fuller & Bell? Houston would have to get creative to fit him in there but a decent chance of landing there.

    VEGAS • Well if they are willing to put up with AB then Bell would be welcome. Vegas has made some great moves & still have three 1st’s. More & more Vegas is the team.

    INDY • No. Plenty of dough. But he is not needed.

    CHI • Again would have to get crafty with the cap but what a perfect fit. But newly signed Mike Davis says unlikely.

    PHI • Dark horse. Need to open up some money but perfect fit.

    TB • Arians loves his workhorse rushing & receiving backs. Could happen.

    MIA • And here we go. He’s been there this entire time. MIA needs SOMEBODY/ANYBODY to avoid the obvious tank job. They’d have to pay up even more because they are going nowhere anytime soon.

    In the end Vegas it is. They are making SOLID moves, ready to compete. Three 1st’s to play with. Plenty of cash. Can follow his pal
    AB there. Vegas then Houston.

  21. He won’t get more money and there is no way to recoup 2018 dollars.

    What he took in exchange was his freedom.

  22. They should bring a Brinks truck to his house and let it just start raining moolah. So lucky.

  23. I don’t know why people have such a hard time understanding this. If he got injured last year and couldn’t play anymore, that 14.54 million was all he would make. If he gets a 4 year deal with 30ish million guaranteed, I think he has a more secure future than if he had played last year on the franchise tender.

  24. Teams spend on average 2.6% (per Spotrac) of their cap on the running back position (cumulative for all RBs on roster, not per RB); that equates to about $4.5M per team based on the 2019 projected cap.

    Buffalo and Jacksonville spent the most cap dollars in 2018 on RBs. The Rams were 3rd and already likely regretting the deal they gave Gurley.

    Simple realities of the NFL.

    Bell can want and try to recoup money HE decided not to earn last year but only a desperate team (and one likely to finish at the bottom of the standings) will heed his reported wants. That money is gone…for good.

    While the cap is increasing, the percentages that teams are willing to allocate to one position likely don’t change much. If the cap is $100M, RBs get about 2.5% of that…if the cap is $200M, RBs get 2.5% of that.

    He might get really good money from a team like the Raiders or Jets but those teams are in a continuing spiral of mediocrity or worse…don’t see a team that generally does well paying him what he wants.

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