On the move: former Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell is heading to the New York Jets

Los Angeles (AFP) - Former Pittsburgh Steelers star Le’Veon Bell joined the New York Jets in a four-year deal worth $52.5 million on Wednesday as NFL 2019 season free agency began.

Bell, 27, sat out the entire 2018 season with the Steelers in the hopes of landing a blockbuster free agent contract.

However, a bidding war for the running back’s services failed to materialize, and the Jets became the only serious contenders for the three-time Pro-Bowler’s signature.

Bell’s deal with the Jets includes $35 million of guaranteed money, ESPN reported, and could be worth up to $61 million depending on performance.

Bell, regarded as one of the most effective running backs in the NFL, was once a key part of Pittsburgh’s “Killer Bs” alongside quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and receivers Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant.

But Brown and Bryant have since joined the Oakland Raiders, leaving 37-year-old Roethlisberger as the sole member of the feared Steelers offensive quartet.

In other significant deals, the Baltimore Ravens have snagged former New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram on a three-year deal worth $15 million.

The Ravens also signed ex-Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, who is due to join on a four-year deal worth $55 million.

Thomas’s contract includes $32 million in guaranteed pay at signing, with $22 million to be paid in the first nine months.

The Washington Redskins inked a two-year deal worth $8 million to keep running back Adrian Peterson, who turns 34 next week.

Peterson led the Redskins with 1,042 yards and seven touchdowns on 251 carries, the eighth 1,000-yard campaign in his 12-year career.

There were also confirmations of other moves, including receiver Odell Beckham Jr being traded to Cleveland from the New York Giants, quarterback Joe Flacco going from Baltimore to the Denver Broncos, and the Redskins landing quarterback Case Keenum from Denver.

The Houston Texans placed a franchise tag on linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, keeping him for next season as one of the top-paid players at his position.