SportsPulse: While one superstar is leaving the Big Apple another is on their way to joining it. Le’Veon Bell is expected to be a New York Jet on a four-year deal worth $52.5 million.
After a year on the sidelines, Le’Veon Bell has found his landing spot in the NFL.
The former Pittsburgh Steelers running back – widely considered to be one of the marquee free agents available in this year’s crop – is expected to sign a four-year contract worth $52.5 million with the New York Jets, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The deal also includes $35 million in guaranteed money, according to Schefter.
Bell seemed to confirm the news early on Wednesday morning, tweeting “I’m back in the green baby, let’s get it.”
Last season, Bell sat out the entire year after the Steelers tendered him with the franchise tag in March 2018, the second consecutive season they had done so. But after he played on it in 2017 and amassed a league-high 406 touches, Bell opted not to sign the tender, passing up the $14.54 million salary that it would’ve paid him.
Bell had a similar dispute in 2017 after the Steelers placed the franchise tag on him, and it wasn’t until Sept. 1 of that year when he reported.
Still only 27 years old, Bell had a massive workload in his five seasons in Pittsburgh, rushing the ball 1,229 times for 5,336 yards and catching 312 passes for another 2,660 yards. He scored 42 total touchdowns in that span. He made the Pro Bowl three times in his career and earned all-pro honors in 2014 and 2017.
In joining the Jets, Bell will provide second-year quarterback Sam Darnold with significant help both as a bell-cow back and receiver. No player on the team had more than 40 catches or 510 receiving yards in 2018. Bell has blown past those totals in three of the last four years, with the lone exception coming in the 2015 season in which he played just six games.
Last February, Bell responded to a fan who asked the running back to join the team by saying “that ain’t enough to come run with the Jets…” in a since-deleted tweet.
The Steelers selected Bell with the 48th overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
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Bell becomes the second marquee offensive weapon to leave the Steelers this offseason after receiver Antonio Brown forced his way out of Pittsburgh by asking for a trade. The Steelers eventually dealt Brown to the Oakland Raiders, who re-did his contract, for third- and fifth-round picks in this year’s NFL draft.
Follow Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes.