Joique Bell: Latest News, Rumors and Speculation on Free-Agent RB

Tyler ConwayFeatured Columnist

Detroit Lions running back Joique Bell (35) runs the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

Barreling toward his 30th birthday and coming off three straight seasons averaging less than four yards per carry, Joique Bell is hanging on to his NFL life by a thread. It appears the Buffalo Bills may offer him one last shot at making it work.

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Bell to Meet With Bills, Contract Status Unclear

Tuesday, March 15   

Rand Getlin of NFL Network reported Bell was meeting with the Bills on Tuesday. Heading into his fifth NFL season, Bell spent his previous four with the Detroit Lions. He rushed for 311 yards and four touchdowns, adding 22 receptions for 286 yards. Those numbers were at or among career worsts for Bell, who struggled with injuries and ceded playing time to rookie Ameer Abdullah.

The Lions released Bell on Feb. 16 as a cost-cutting maneuver. He's spoken of wanting to come out and prove he can still contribute despite his advancing age. 

“There’s always a chip on your shoulder,” Bell said, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “(The questions are out there of), ‘Do you still got it? Is he getting older?’ But in reality, I’m really young ’cause I don’t have any wear and tear on my body. Honestly, I had (90) carries. I think the most I ever had in a season was (223), and that was two years ago, with Reggie (Bush). And then, the year before that, I only had (166). So I have no wear and tear on my body. I feel good.”

The Bills already have a high-cost running back in LeSean McCoy, so Bell would be joining as a clear backup. They also have promising young second-year back Karlos Williams expecting carries. Adding a veteran like Bell, on paper, seems pretty strange.

Buffalo should probably use that roster spot and find a cheap young player who could be a diamond in the rough. Williams was a fifth-round pick a year ago, and even third-stringer Mike Gillislee has done some nice work with occasional touches.

There's no logical reason Bell should wind up in Buffalo. But if they're meeting, the interest has to be relatively serious. Perhaps the team sees him as an occasional third-down back, but McCoy is a talented pass-catcher as is. If they're looking to lessen McCoy's workload, it'd make more sense to give Williams more work on first and second down so McCoy can be out there on third.

This just seems like a strange fit.