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Jets Sign LeVeon Bell To 4 Years $52.5 Million

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  • Jets Sign LeVeon Bell To 4 Years $52.5 Million

    Bell plans to join Jets for 4 years, $52.5 million

    Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell plans to sign a four-year, $52.5 million contract with the New York Jets, a league source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

    The deal includes $35 million guaranteed, with a maximum value (including incentives) close to $61 million, a source said.

    Bell, who shocked the NFL by sitting out the entire 2018 season on the franchise tag after failing to agree on a new contract last summer, officially became a free agent when Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert opted not to place a franchise or transition tag on him for the 2019 season.

    The two-time All-Pro running back, after gaining nearly 2,000 total yards during the 2017 season, opted to eschew the $14.5 million franchise tag in 2018 -- forgoing about $855,000 per game -- so he could preserve his long-term viability for a big contract in free agency this offseason.

    Bell's average of 128.9 total yards per game from 2013 to 2017 is the highest for an NFL back over the first five seasons of a career since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. During that span, he rushed for 5,336 yards and 35 touchdowns while catching 312 passes for 2,660 yards and another 7 scores.

    Rocky franchise-tag negotiations over the past two years created distance between Bell and the Steelers. He missed training camp in 2017 when both sides couldn't agree on a contract, and he eventually played on a $12.12 million franchise tag -- rushing for 1,291 yards and 9 touchdowns while catching 85 passes for 655 yards and two more TDs.

    By sitting out the 2018 season, Bell, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, correctly bet the Steelers wouldn't place a third consecutive franchise tag on him.