The Detroit Lions have reached an agreement with running back Joique Bell on a two-year contract extension that is slated to pay him $7 million, including $4.3 million in guaranteed money.
Adam Caplan of ESPN passed along word of the new deal Tuesday prior to the official start of free agency:
Ross Jones of Fox Sports noted Bell ends up getting more guaranteed money in his new contract than teammate Reggie Bush received in his deal last year:
Bell and Bush formed a terrific rushing tandem for the Lions last season. They combined for over 1,600 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the high-powered Detroit offense. They also scored 15 total touchdowns, eight of which were courtesy of Bell.
Even though the Lions fell short of the postseason after losing six of their last seven games, the team was clearly content with the running game. By bringing both top rushers back, a similar workload should be expected for both in 2014.
Bell was never expected to get away from the Lions. Kyle Meinke of MLive.com provided comments from Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew, who said the team was going to make sure the restricted free agent returned one way or another:
He's going to be here. We met with his agent a couple of nights ago and had a good discussion. There is a possibility we might work on a long-term deal with him, but either way, he's going to be with us.
In an era where more and more teams are utilizing a committee approach in the backfield, the Lions have seemingly struck a perfect balance. Both Bell and Bush are able to make plays in the passing game, meaning the approach doesn't drastically change depending on who's in the game.
Bell is a bulkier back, which helps explain why his touchdown total is higher on the ground, as he gets more looks in the red zone. Otherwise, the Lions can feel comfortable opening the playbook, and with Bell re-signed, more of the same can be expected moving forward.
Detroit had no plans of letting Bell get away. Now it has signed him to a new contract to keep him with the franchise for a couple more years.
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