The full details of the Le’Veon Bell contract

Getty Images

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.

49 responses to “The full details of the Le’Veon Bell contract

  1. Like I’ve said jets got a great player for a great deal. Looks like a lot of teams missed out when all is said and done. Welcome too gang green leveon. Jets got themselves a top 10 player in this league and it’s about time

  2. Wow! He really IS kicking himself for not playing last year. Had he taken the Steelers 5 year/70 million he would have been so much better off. Even if he had a serious injury, the Steelers wouldn’t have cut him, that’s not how they roll. Ryan Shazier is only one example of that fact. So Bell would have been guaranteed 33 million for being on the team at the start of his second year and 45 for the start of year 3. Bell gambled on himself and clearly LOST, and it’s costing him MILLIONS…all to move to an inferior team in the New York Jets…that’s got to hurt!

  3. Sitting out last season and signing this deal will only prove to be a success if he gets catastrophically injured in year one of the contract.

    Any other outcome, ie playing into year two or beyond, will prove his decision to be a massive mistake.

  4. So Pittsburgh’s offer was better, with essentially $30 milliin guaranteed in 1st 2 years (which would now have been paid to him) and $45 million over 3 years (which the rest would have been paid next year).

    Not to mention total value of $70 million.

  5. thinredline69 says:
    March 17, 2019 at 1:14 pm
    Wow! He really IS kicking himself for not playing last year. Had he taken the Steelers 5 year/70 million he would have been so much better off. Even if he had a serious injury, the Steelers wouldn’t have cut him, that’s not how they roll. Ryan Shazier is only one example of that fact. So Bell would have been guaranteed 33 million for being on the team at the start of his second year and 45 for the start of year 3. Bell gambled on himself and clearly LOST, and it’s costing him MILLIONS…all to move to an inferior team in the New York Jets…that’s got to hurt!
    —-
    In what world is a 5 year $70 million contract with only $10 million gauranteed at signing better than a 4 year $58.5 million contract with $27 million gauranteed at signing? That $10 million gaurantee at signing was actually less than the $14.5 million gauranteed with the second franchise tag. And the old trust us we won’t cut you is comical. No player should ever trust management to do or not do something unless it’s in the contract.

  6. Thought the Stiller’s offered 70 mill with 30 guarenteed.
    But if him & his agent want to take year off and accept less $$…it’s not real smart, but they and sure do it.

  7. lot of money for a cancer that’s going to average less than 3 yards per carry this year

  8. jimnaizeeum says:
    March 17, 2019 at 1:41 pm
    Thought the Stiller’s offered 70 mill with 30 guarenteed.
    But if him & his agent want to take year off and accept less $$…it’s not real smart, but they and sure do it.

    The Steelers do not gaurantee anything beyond the first year of a contract. That’s why Antonio Brown had no gaurantee on his deal after the first year. The “gaurantees” you’re talking about was gauranteed for injury meaning he only gets that if injured on a specific date. There’s a huge difference between fully gauranteed and gauranteed for injury. The Steelers deal was much worse. With a full gaurantee of only $10 million he could have been cut after year one and that’s all he would have walked away with. Also Bell wasn’t likely to have seen that 5th year of his deal anyways even if he was performing well.

  9. Bell really messed up by sitting last year. He lost money AND has to play for the Jets. The Jets have a great player, but one who is often injured, a locker room cancer, and one blunt short of being suspended for a year. He won’t come close to finishing out the contract.

  10. wouldnt he have made more doing the franchise tag last year and this year? wasnt that like 15mill per year?

  11. As a Steelers fan, I’m not losing sleep over the fact Bell or Brown are gone from the team. Unfortunately for Bell, he overvalued himself. If the reports are true, his agent advised him to take the Steelers final offer, but because Gurley broke the bank, Bell probably felt he would get that or more. However, when Gurley was ineffective towards the end of the season, and Anderson filled in quite nicely, Bell’s dreams of a huge contract were over. Also, Conner was great for the Steelers. The Steelers typically don’t just cut guys loose, so he probably would have been paid most of, if not all, of his contract. Plus, I’m sure an injury clause could have been worked out. His demands were just unrealistic, he gambled and lost.

  12. This is WAY worse than it looked originally! The incentives won’t happen. So he’s looking at $11.5 million in 2019… $16.5 million in 2020 (unless he gets cut — then he only gets $12 million and the team saves $4.5 million)… $11.5 million in 2021 (all avoidable)… and $13 million in 2022 (all avoidable).

    So what he has is a 1-2 year “prove it” deal at $11.5 million the first year and $12 million OR $16.5 million the second. Then he goes on team option years of $11.5 million and $13 million.

    If he’s great, he makes $52.5. If he stinks, he makes $23.5. Isn’t that less than Pittsburgh guaranteed? Even if he survives the first two years, the team can still dump him if he doesn’t keep it up after that.

    That’s a horrible deal for him!

  13. Steeler fans are much like little girls. They love every Steeler player until they bolt from the dumpster fire! He is a great player just like the #1 that left. They must feel like Charlie Brown when Lucy would pull the ball away!

  14. Two #1 players have left. How much longer until Big Bum throws the new players under the bus on his weekly radio show? At least I had respect for the 70’s Steelers. He would not make a pimple on Bradshaw’s butt! Not to mention Milledgeville Ga. Funny how money, good attorneys and the bootlegging name of Rooney can get you out of trouble! His first Super Bowl he had a 22.6 QBR. New record! The game plan was simple. Hand off to the Bus and let the D do its job!

  15. $27 mil guaranteed > $17 mil guaranteed

    That was the point of sitting. It doesn’t matter what he could have gotten last year + the future. He wanted guaranteed money right away without having to worry about a potential injury. So many people overlook that.

  16. ouch! so basically a 2 year deal for 27 mil then he’ll get cut after the guaranteed money runs out. gambled and lost. some are saying it’s the worst contractual move in NFL history. he’s got money now, but damn he left a lot on the table

  17. Not too bad a pay package, especially when you consider he wanted to play for the Jets all along.

  18. In 2 years the Super Bowl will be played 2 weeks shy of his 30th birthday. What do you think the odds are he sees one cent beyond the first two years that are guaranteed? And will he have greater earning potential as a 30 year old vs the $5yr/$70m w/ $45m through age 29 ($33m fully guaranteed) he left on the table as a 27 year old?

    Really doubt it in both cases.

  19. $10 million gauranteed at signing better than a 4 year $58.5 million contract
    ____________________________________________________________________________
    It wasn’t 10 million.

  20. He lost a GUARANTEED salary of $14+million as a tagged player last year….

    either bad agent, bad call by Bell or bad advice from someone… $14mm LOST Forever…

    There’s no way to spin that positively

  21. He’s a a sly fox man sat out a year playing in the strip club circuit 😁 helped implode the Steelers 😅 now he’s getting 27 mil garunteed not bad for a 30 year old rb one failed test away from sitting out some more 👏👏👏

  22. This guy took a pay cut to go to the Jest. (I mean to spell them that way)

    This is a 2-year deal worth 25.5 that the Jets can consider extending.

    2017 franchise tag – 12.12 million
    2018 franchise tag – 14.54 million
    2 years 26.66 million versus 2 years 25.5

  23. It amazes me how many people so badly want to justify Bell’s strategy to sit out that they can do the math to make 14.5M not count for anything.

    Let me help you. When you bypass on 14.5M, you lose 14.5M in earnings.

    That is all.

  24. It’s a lot of money for a running back. You just don’t win with RB’s. The Patriots never pay for RB’s. They win the super bowl almost every year. Philly won one, but they won as soon as they got rid of their best RB, LeSean McCoy. Saquon Barkley is the best RB in the league. How’d the Giants do? Bell has been awesome for the Steelers, yet no super bowls. The Jets are a young up and coming team. Sam Darnold is still on his rookie deal, so they can afford the luxury. But they’re only going to go as far as Sam Darnold takes them, not LeVeon Bell.

  25. Any one on here, raise your hands if you’re going to make over 20 million dollars over the next 2 years? How about the next 20?? Didn’t think so. So everyone saying it’s a “bad” deal must feel terrible about their chosen profession.

  26. Bell was a product of the Steeler offensive system. Offensive players go to the Jets and disappear from the face of the earth. Bell is no exception to the rule. He’ll get a 2 year paycheck and that’s all.

  27. It is clear he overvalued himself and the RB position, and he very highly valued the risk of a career ending injury in the first year of any contract. He undervalued the chance to win a super bowl with a good team. If he is happy, good for him, I guess that is all that matters in his world.

  28. Chunk Life says:
    March 17, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    Sitting out last season and signing this deal will only prove to be a success if he gets catastrophically injured in year one of the contract.

    Any other outcome, ie playing into year two or beyond, will prove his decision to be a massive mistake.
    ******************
    Wrong, you completely discount the fact that he could been injured last year. Catastrophically or not, he wouldn’t be looking at a guaranteed $35M this year, if he had been injured. He would have only received last year’s guarantees, which were much smaller.

    Bell now has $35M reasons why he came out ahead on his hold out, so expect more of this in the future, until the NFLPA has these guy’s backs coming out of their rookie contracts, where the market is currently compressed for them.

  29. Unfortunately for the Jets, he will never earn what they have paid him. Over/under for his time with the Jets is 2 years.

  30. jets2469 says:
    March 17, 2019 at 1:10 pm
    Like I’ve said jets got a great player for a great deal. Looks like a lot of teams missed out when all is said and done. Welcome too gang green leveon. Jets got themselves a top 10 player in this league and it’s about time
    ——
    Ahem. Bell WAS a great player. WAS a top 10 player. With the Steelers. And before he sat out a season.

    He isn’t now. I suspect the Jets got a guy who won’t be all that different from Ladainian Tomlinson at the very end of his career in a Jets uniform. He will be exposed without that Steelers OL (who made even JAGs like Conner and Samuels look good – nuff said).

  31. So this young man sits out a year, rest his brain and body, only to return to a new scenery guaranteeing him 35 mil and all yall do is bash him?!?

  32. Honestly, not many fans care about him or his money.
    —————————————————–

    Untrue, the majority of people who commented on this site about Bell’s situation were mainly talking about how “stupid and arrogant” he was for turning down almost million dollar weekly game checks. All they did was talk about ‘his’ money.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!