Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell has been in the news a lot over the past calendar year.
His decision to holdout throughout the 2018 season has been sharply criticized since Bell signed a relatively weak four-year, $52.2 million deal with the New York Jets that called for just $25 million in fully guaranteed cash.
Given Bell’s body of work during his Steelers days, this deal was far below what he was previously demanding.
Now, according to this report from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Bell didn’t take the best offer during free agency.
Fowler notes that the San Francisco 49ers offered $38 million over three years — almost fully guaranteed.
Couple of notes from Le'Veon Bell on his free agency:
*San Fran offered three years, $38 million, "just about fully guaranteed." Very tempting
*Bell knew around time of NFL combine he wanted to go to the Jets.
*Derek Carr and Antonio Brown recruited him hard.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 15, 2019
Bell reportedly knew that he wanted to sign with the Jets a couple weeks back at the NFL Scouting Combine. San Francisco made a late push to sign him. In the end, the All-Pro running back opted for New York over the Bay Area.
If Bell were to meet his incentives and play out the duration of the contract, he’ll end up earning more than if he had signed with the 49ers. But San Francisco’s offer was considerably stronger from a guaranteed money perspective.
As it relates to the 49ers, they added the second-best running back on the market in the form of Tevin Coleman for a lot less cash.