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Le'Veon Bell's gamble certainly didn’t pay off, but you can’t label him a loser

Former Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell walked away from a lot of guaranteed money just to make guaranteed money he likely would have gotten anyway. Does this make him a loser? Yes, but we should all be such losers.

Divisional Round - Jacksonville Jaguars v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

If you’re anything like me, you jumped for joy last week when it was revealed that Le’Veon Bell, the former Steelers’ all-everything running back, inked a deal with the Jets that wasn’t worth more money than he would have gotten had he just went ahead and signed a multi-year contract with Pittsburgh—in either 2017 or 2018.

Actually, if you’re anything like me, you cursed the gene gods for not blessing you with the ability to do something—anything—valuable enough to convince a corporation to guarantee you $25 million.

That’s what the New York Jets decided to fully guarantee Bell, last week, when they signed him to a four-year contract that could be worth as much as $62 million with incentives.

As for the Steelers deal—at least the one offered last year (2017 was too long ago to worry about)—the guaranteed money wasn’t worth as much, but if you consider the fact that Pittsburgh wasn’t going to just up and cut Bell even after a gruesome injury, he was all-but assured to make more than the Jets are guaranteeing him.

Maybe the deal he just signed with New York—one that could average $15.5 million per year (or $1.5 million more annually than Pittsburgh offered)—will ultimately pay Bell more than he would have earned had he remained with the Steelers.

We will never know for sure. But what we do know is that Bell came out a loser in the end—again, as much as a person who was just guaranteed $25 million could be categorized as a “loser.”

Why do I say this? Because Bell walked away from $14.5 million in 2018 just so he could get the $25 million he was likely going to get anyway. You might say, “Yeah, but what if he got hurt last year?” Yes, what if he got hurt? No doubt, a torn ACL in the fall of 2018 would have severely limited Bell’s earning potential in the spring of 2019. But unless you or he has a crystal ball that can see into the future (and I don’t even think $25 million can buy one of those gadgets just yet), we will never know if he would have gotten hurt in 2018.

All we know is he didn’t get hurt. And even though I don’t have a crystal ball, I can confidently assume that Bell, coming off of a season in-which he didn’t tear a ligament vital to a star running back, would have been able to procure a contract that included at least $25 million in guaranteed money.

Therefore, knowing what we do know—Bell entered the 2019 free agency period sans serious injury—he sacrificed $14.5 million in-order to make $25 million.

In other words, he walked away from at least—at least—$10.5 million.

That’s a lot of money to walk away from.

Does this mean you, the fan, are justified in mocking Bell on social media? If it makes you feel better, I guess.

As for me, I’m going to continue to curse those gene gods for not making me talented enough in something—anything—to give some nobody writer an idea to craft an article about walking away from $14.5 million just to make a point.