The Lions have placed a second-round tender on running back Joique Bell, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com, meaning the potential restricted free agent could accept the offer and return to Detroit on a one-year, $2.187MM contract. However, it looks like the two sides will reach a longer-term agreement. According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Bell and the Lions are close to working out a multiyear deal.
Bell, 27, said back in January that he hoped to bypass the restricted free agency process and negotiate a long-term contract that would keep him in Detroit. The undrafted running back was one of the team’s most dynamic offensive weapons in 2013, racking up nearly 1,200 combined rushing and receiving yards to go along with eight touchdowns. While Bell was only a part-time player, playing behind starter Reggie Bush, he ranked as the NFL’s ninth-best running back, according to Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required).
While it’s not clear if the Lions will finalize a deal for Bell before free agency gets underway this afternoon, doing so could reduce his 2014 cap hit, giving the team a little more flexibility to spend on other players.