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Free Agency

Le’Veon Bell signs with the Jets ending free agent saga with fairy-tale ending

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14: Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field on January 14, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14: Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field on January 14, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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In a night full of rumors and speculations, the report finally came in stating that All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell had officially agreed to a deal with the New York Jets.

It’s all over. The speculations can end and the rumors could be put to bed. The constant Twitter refreshing, tweet deciphering, and pleading for news can all cease. Le’Veon Bell has reportedly signed with the New York Jets.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the deal is worth $52.5 million over four years with incentives that could make it worth up to $61 million. That averages out to roughly $13 million per year with $35 million in guaranteed money.

The Bell free agent sweepstakes was an ever-lasting saga that lasted for months but concluded with the fairy-tale ending we all hoped it would. Bell is a member of the Jets, and with him comes three Pro Bowl appearances, two First-Team All-Pro selections, and a whole lot of previous baggage that need not be unpacked.

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For now, let’s just focus on what we know and revel in this rare moment of glory for a franchise that has experienced heartbreak after heartbreak. A franchise that has long been the laughing stock of the NFL and the butt-end of recurring jokes.

But not tonight.

Tonight the Jets were victors. Not victors of a championship or even a single game, we haven’t gotten that far yet. Rather the Jets were the victors of a personal battle that they had been fighting for decades. After years of “just about’s” and “almost’s,” the Jets finally landed the big one.

They closed the deal.

Now, the Jets entire image as a franchise isn’t going to change overnight. It isn’t going to change with one free agent signing, no matter how high-profile it may be. But the Bell signing is a personal win for the Jets.

They’ve shown their fanbase that they can and will be aggressive in free agency. And while there have been failures thus far — here’s to you Anthony Barr and Matt Paradis — all has been forgiven for the time being. The Jets have signed Bell and proved to themselves and the NFL world that they can, in fact, make the big move when it counts.

This is how you remove a stigma. This is how you change your image.

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Will this all blow up in their faces? Perhaps, it quite possibly could. And perhaps a year from now we’re looking at this trade from a very different perspective. Perhaps now we’re seeing things through green and white colored glasses and aren’t looking at the bigger picture.

All of this is possible. But it’s also very possible that this is the start of something incredible for the Jets. The franchise rebranding started with the selections of Jamal Adams and Sam Darnold in back-to-back drafts. Perhaps this was the next step towards greatness for a franchise that has been anything but for nearly 50 years now.

The story of the new-look New York Jets is far from over, their narrative only beginning to be told. But the tale of the race for Le’Veon Bell has ended in heartbreak for the half-dozen other teams that showed interest in the premier talent.

Jets Free Agency: Initial grade and analysis of Jamison Crowder. Next

This time the Jets were able to avoid said heartbreak and secure their fairy-tale ending.

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