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 is set to join the New York Jets in a four-year deal worth $52.5 million, reports said Wednesday.
Bell, 27, sat out the entire 2018 season with the Steelers in the hopes of landing a blockbuster deal as a free agent.
However a bidding war for the running back’s services failed to materialise, with the Jets becoming the only serious contenders for the three-time Pro-Bowler’s signature.
According to ESPN, Bell’s deal with the Jets includes $35 million of guaranteed money and could be worth up to $61 million depending on his performance.
Bell appeared to confirm the move in a Twitter post which referenced the green uniforms worn by both his college team Michigan State and the New York Jets, writing simply: “I’m back in the green baby, let’s get it.”
Bell, regarded as one of the most effective runnings 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 the ageing Roethlisberger as the sole member of the feared Steelers offensive quartet.
Bell’s move to the Jets comes as the NFL’s free agency period formally opens on Wednesday, although negotiations have been taking place since Monday.
In other significant deals reported Wednesday, the Baltimore Ravens have snagged former New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram on a three-year deal worth $15 million.
The Ravens are also poised to capture the signing of 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.