Le'Veon Bell agrees to join New York Jets on a four-year contract
Last Updated: 13/03/19 8:49pm
Le'Veon Bell has agreed to sign with the New York Jets when the free agency period opens, according to multiple reports.
Bell sat out a full season while considering where he would make his next playmaking moves.
Well-rested, motivated and armed with a new contract, the star running back is joining Sam Darnold and the New York Jets.
The decision ends months of speculation about where he would resume his playing career after six years with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
ESPN first reported the signing, and said the deal is for four years and £39.9m including £26.6m guaranteed.
Bell, a former Michigan State star, also announced his decision on Twitter, saying: "I'm back in the green baby, let's get it."
Several teams were mentioned throughout the past few days as having interest in signing Bell, with the Jets consistently among them.
The deal gives Darnold and new coach Adam Gase a big-time playmaker, arguably the best player at his position before Bell opted to sit out all of last season rather than sign a franchise tender with Pittsburgh.
The 27-year-old Bell is a two-time AP All-Pro selection and three-time Pro Bowl pick who immediately upgrades the Jets' backfield.
Bell has rushed for 5,336 yards and 35 touchdowns, and has 312 catches for 2,660 yards and seven scores as one of the most versatile and dangerous offensive players in the NFL. His 128.9 yards from scrimmage per game over his career is the best mark in the NFL since the 1970 merger.
Bell's career reached a crossroads, however, last year when he declined to sign his one-year, £10.9m franchise tender with the Steelers and made himself ineligible to play. It was an unprecedented move as Bell, who received the franchise tag in two straight years, skipped a season in his prime to preserve his long-term health and secure a big payday.
Last month, Pittsburgh decided to not place the transition tag on Bell. That cleared the running back to become an unrestricted free agent when the NFL's new year begins Wednesday.
The Jets pounced on a player they think can help Darnold take their offense to another level despite the fact Bell has not played since Pittsburgh's playoff loss to Jacksonville on January 14, 2018. That means it will be a span of 19 months in between game appearances by the time the preseason begins in August.
Finally, Bell's 'saga' is over. After refusing to sign the franchise tag offer by the Pittsburgh Steelers ahead of last season, Bell will finally see the field in 2019 for the Jets.
At 27 years old, Bell still has plenty left in the tank - and he has played at a Hall of Fame pace for his career so far. Through his 62 career games, Bell has averaged 129 yards from scrimmage - an absurd number.
The Steelers, meanwhile, will look drastically different in 2019, with All-Pro wideout Antonio Brown already out the door, having been traded to the Oakland Raiders for third and fifth-round picks.