Joique Bell looking for a long-term contract with Lions

Posted Jan 30, 2014

Joique Bell has turned out to be a great find by the Detroit Lions as he's rushed for 1,064 yards and added another 1,032 receiving the last two seasons

NEW YORK, NY -- Joique Bell is one of the good-guy stories in the NFL.

A Division II player from Wayne State who went undrafted in 2010 and bounced around to multiple teams and practice squads before finally landing an opportunity with the Detroit Lions in 2012.

Joique BellRB Joique Bell (Photo: Gavin Smith)

Bell’s made the most of his opportunity to play in Detroit. His route to NFL success certainly is unorthodox, but continuing to stick through some of the hard times is about to pay off for Bell in big way.

He becomes a restricted free agent in March and is expected to command at least a second-round tender from the Lions worth somewhere between $2-$3 million guaranteed. That’ll be somewhere in the neighborhood of a 300 percent increase from the $630,000 in base salary he earned in 2013.

The Lions and Bell could decide to forgo the entire restricted free agency process, too, and sign a long-term deal, which seems like the most beneficial of scenarios for both parties.

Bell has totaled 1,064 yards rushing and 1,032 receiving in two full seasons with Detroit.

He and teammate Reggie Bush were one of the best running back tandems in the NFL this past season, becoming the first duo to each rush for at least 500 yards and record 500 yards receiving.

"I do understand I’m a restricted free agent and I understand how the business works and I would like to just bypass all of this and sign a long-term deal," Bell said Wednesday night after his Broadway debut in Rock of Ages. "Just knock it out.

"I don’t want to go anywhere. I know the fans don’t want me going anywhere. I know the team doesn’t want me going anywhere. The front office doesn’t want me to go anywhere, so let’s just make this happen."

The Lions signed Bush to a four-year, $16 million contract last offseason to be the team’s featured back. In his first season in Detroit, Bush became the first Lions running back to rush for 1,000 yards since 2004.

Bell, 27, isn’t likely to command that kind of money in a long-term deal, but he’d be well worth some sort of long-term investment that would keep him in Detroit for the foreseeable future.

He and Bush combined for 1,656 rushing yards and another 1,053 receiving this season. Bell also led the team with eight rushing touchdowns.

"I love this franchise," Bell said of being a Detroit Lion. "I grew up watching it. I worked here. I always dreamed of playing here, so let’s make the best of it."