It took a year-long holdout, and alienating many of his Steelers teammates, and enduring the experience of having his role comfortably usurped by another dirt-cheap replacement, but Le’Veon Bell has finally successfully ducked franchise tag hell and engineered his way to a long-term contract. Sadly, for holding fast to his convictions over a year of self-imposed exile, Bell’s deliverance has taken the form of a four-year stint with the New York Jets.
The reported terms of Bell’s deal—four years and $61 million, of which $35 million will be guaranteed—appear to compare favorably to the “rolling guarantees” offer he reportedly declined from the Steelers last summer, even if that offer was superficially longer and more expensive. The only parts of NFL contracts that are actually worth a damn are the guarantees, and NFL running backs, who for the most part play out the bulk of their prime years under their rookie-scale contracts, need all the guaranteed money they can get. Possibly even enough to get it from the woeful, miserable Jets.