Various summaries of the new contract signed this week by Jets running back Le'Veon Bell have emerged since Bell put pen to paper. PFT has obtained a copy of the raw document, which means that (like it or not) you’re now getting a full and complete explanation of all of the details of the deal.
This is a full and complete explanation of the entire terms from the raw document, checked, double-checked, and triple-checked.
Signing bonus: Bell gets $8 million right out of the gates, an amount to be paid in three installments. He’ll get $4 million within 15 days of March 31, 2019, $1 million within 15 days of April 15, 2019, and $3 million within 15 days of January 1, 2020.
Roster bonuses: Bell receives a $4 million 2019 roster bonus, with $3 million of it due within 15 days of April 15, 2019 and the remaining $1 million due within 15 days of October 15, 2019. The payment is fully guaranteed. He also receives a $4.5 million 2020 roster bonus, $2 million of which must be paid within 15 days of March 31, 2020 and the remaining $2.5 million of which must be paid within 15 days of October 15, 2020. The 2020 roster bonus becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day after the contract is signed, which makes it as a practical matter fully guaranteed at signing.
Base salaries: The deal has so-called “Paragraph 5” salaries (because they’re listed in Paragraph 5 of the standard player contract) of $2 million for 2019, $8.5 million for 2020, $8 million for 2021, and $9.5 million for 2022.
Guaranteed base salaries: The 2019 base salary is fully guaranteed at signing, as is the 2020 base salary. Bell’s 2021 base salary is guaranteed for injury at signing; it becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2021 league year.
Per-game roster bonuses: For each year of the deal, Bell gets $31,250 for every game that has him on the 46-man active roster. The maximum payment is $500,000 per year.
Training-camp bonuses: Bell receives $3 million in 2021 and $3 million in 2022 for showing up for and fully participating in training camp.
Incentives: In each year of the deal (2019 through 2022), Bell can earn $500,000 for 1,800 yards from scrimmage, another $500,000 for 2,000 yards from scrimmage, another $500,000 for 1,800 yards from scrimmage plus the Jets making the playoffs. The bonuses are cumulative, meaning that he can earn $1.5 million per year.
Escalators: Bell has a potential $550,000 salary escalator for 2020, 2021, and 2022 that can be earned in any of three ways: gaining 2,000 yards from scrimmage, being named the Associated Press offensive player of the year, or being named the Associated Press regular-season MVP. These are not cumulative; Bell can boost his salary by only $550,000 for each of the final three years of his contract, based on his performance in 2019, 2020, and 2021.
The full guarantee at signing, contrary and/or confirming any and all other reports on the subject, consists of the $8 million signing bonus, the $2 million 2019 base salary, the $8.5 million 2020 base salary, the $4 million 2019 roster bonus, and the $4.5 million 2020 roster bonus. If my math is correct (and it often isn’t), that’s $27 million fully guaranteed at signing.
The total guarantee (full guarantee plus injury guarantee) is $35 million.
The cash flow (minus the per-game roster bonuses) is $14 million through 2019, $27 million through 2020, $38 million through 2021, and $50.5 million through 2022. With the per-game roster bonuses, it’s $14.5 million through 2019, $28 million through 2020, $39.5 million through 2021, and $52.5 million through 2022.
The incentives and escalators add a maximum additional payment of $7.65 million, giving the deal a max value of $60.15 million over four years.