Lions running back Joique Bell played a big role in the Lions offense in 2013, rushing for 650 yards and catching 53 passes for 547 yards to provide Detroit with a strong complement to Reggie Bush in the backfield.
That makes it all but certain that the team will be tendering Bell a contract as a restricted free agent. That will be a first- or second-round tender, a level that has kept most teams from bidding for restricted free agents in recent years. Bell, however, would like to skip all the tenders and restricted free agent wrangling by jumping right to a long-term deal.
“I understand how the business works,” Bell said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “I would like to just bypass all this and just sign a long-term deal, just knock it out. I don’t want to go anywhere, I know the fans don’t want me to go anywhere, I know the team doesn’t want me to go anywhere, the front office doesn’t want me to go anywhere. So let’s make this [happen]. Honestly, let’s just make this happen.”
The Lions have to sort out Ndamukong Suh’s contract and figure out what to do with other expensive veterans like wide receiver Nate Burleson as they prepare for the offseason to really get rolling, which could make it hard for Bell to get his wish to avoid the whole restricted free agent process. One way or the other, though, Bell is likely to be back in Detroit for new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi to deploy as the Lions try to improve on this year’s dismal finish to the season.