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Free Agency

Jets Free Agency: Initial grade and analysis of Le’Veon Bell

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 25: Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers gives a stiff arm to Johnathan Joseph #24 of the Houston Texans in the first quarter at NRG Stadium on December 25, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 25: Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers gives a stiff arm to Johnathan Joseph #24 of the Houston Texans in the first quarter at NRG Stadium on December 25, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
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In a signing that was months in the making, the New York Jets have reportedly reached a deal for star running back Le’Veon Bell securing the biggest free agent splash of the offseason.

Rest easy Jets fans, the saga is finally over. Le’Veon Bell has reportedly signed to a team, and that team is the New York Jets.

After hours of speculations, ESPN’s Adam Schefter announced shortly after midnight on Tuesday morning that the Jets had, in fact, agreed to a hefty deal for the former Pittsburgh Steelers superstar running back.

Bell has been the most talked about 2019 free agent for quite some time now and his season-long ordeal with the Steelers has been well-documented. But now that Bell is in Florham Park, none of that matters anymore.

The three-time Pro Bowler will step in and immediately be the best skill position player the Jets have had on offense since the days of Curtis Martin. You could argue that he’s the most high-profile free agent acquisition the team has made since the Jets signed Martin way back in 1998.

The Jets hope that Bell will provide an immediate upgrade for an offense that struggled mightily at times in 2019. There are certainly concerns, but it’s hard to argue that this wasn’t a move that the Jets had to, and did ultimately make.

Contract details

The Jets reportedly signed Bell to a four-year, $52.5 million contract with $35 million guaranteed.

National Reaction

Former Steelers’ RB Le’Veon Bell plans to sign with…the New York Jets, a league source tells ESPN

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2019

Sam Darnold x Le'Veon Bell

The Jets offense is about to take off ✈️ pic.twitter.com/iNEvSC9wvc

— ESPN (@espn) March 13, 2019

Le’Veon Bell can do for Sam Darnold what Todd Gurley has done for Jared Goff.

Bell will electroshock Jets offense.

NYJ held firm on their offer all day…& got a relative bargain.

No way to sugarcoat it: This was a coup for Mike Maccagnan & Co

Story: https://t.co/gfY2rfMavH pic.twitter.com/DdolnwkwoM

— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) March 13, 2019

I’m back in the green baby, let’s get it

— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) March 13, 2019

Grade

This will undoubtedly be a polarizing move as it’s been a polarizing topic of conversation for months now. But ultimately, the Jets absolutely had to do everything they could to land Bell and they did it.

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Not only did they sign him, but they did so at a significantly reduced price than what was initially expected. Despite Bell reportedly asking for upwards to $17-20 million per year, the market just never developed and the Jets held true to their final offer, never budging.

The value that Bell will bring to the Jets offense is immeasurable. He is equally as proficient as a pass-catcher and pass-blocker as he is a straight runner making him the ultimate offensive chess piece for new head coach Adam Gase to play with.

He gives the Jets a star offensive playmaker to build around and, more importantly, gives young quarterback Sam Darnold a premier offensive skill player to compete with. The Jets will bank on Bell assisting in Darnold’s development and given the Michigan State product’s complete array of skills, it’s hard to see him being anything other than a godsend for the promising Darnold.

There are certainly concerns and this very well could blow up in the Jets faces in the future. If it does, however, hindsight will be 20/20.

At the moment, this is a move the Jets absolutely had to make. With Darnold on his rookie deal, the Jets need to do everything they possibly can to surround him with offensive talent and build a team ready to compete before his deal expires and he is due an extension.

The Jets absolutely had to get a deal done, and they did.

Jets Free Agency: Initial grade and analysis of C.J. Mosley. Next

What the future holds is unknown, but one thing’s for sure: it should be a wild and crazy year in Florham Park.

Final Grade: A

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