In the NFL we often see players stick together. This is why during something like the Ezekiel Elliott holdout situation you’ll see most of, really all, his teammates voicing their understanding and support for him through the situation.
This, of course, extends beyond just the Dallas Cowboys. The league is a fraternity for guys and so they tend to have each other’s backs. When the report about Zeke potentially missing the 2019 season due to his holdout popped up on Tuesday morning, somebody who knows a thing or two about that strategy chimed in... New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell.
Bell famously held out all of the 2018 season from his old team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. He had done the franchise tag song and dance already to that point in his career and felt like he needed to be compensated. Pittsburgh disagreed and thus he missed the entire year.
Many have criticized Bell for the way he handled his situation specifically because they feel that he lost money through the entire process. He’s happy and that’s what ultimately matters, but the numbers are interesting.
Breaking it down, Bell will earn $14.5 million for the 2019 season, but will only count for a $8.5 million cap hit because of the $2 million from his signing bonus and $4.5 million roster bonus to go along with a $2 million base salary. His two-year total, then, comes to $26 million with $11.5 million coming his way while being a $13.5 million cap hit.
There is a potential out of his contract in 2021, and it would only be a $4 million cap hit. But, to keep Bell from potentially sitting out again, the Jets implimented two $3 million training camp reporting bonuses in 2021 and 2022, which comes after the $35 million in guaranteed money has been shelled out.
It was already considered by many to be a steal for Bell, especially with the Steelers offering him a five-year, $70 million deal back in 2018. Pittsburgh would have given the 27-year-old $33 million over the first two years, and he now takes $7 million less to play for Gang Green.
There is a thought that it was Le’Veon Bell who actually reset the running back market as opposed to Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams. Considering he was paid and sacrificed all that he did it makes sense for Bell to want to see other runners prosper, the question remains to what degree Ezekiel Elliott ultimately will with the Cowboys.