The Lions have cut Joique Bell, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Bell entered last season as the team’s starting tailback before being leapfrogged by rookie Ameer Abdullah. Abdullah was up-and-down in his first season, but he is clearly the team’s tailback of the future.
Bell, 30 in August, saw time in 13 games last season, rushing for 311 yards off of 90 carries with four touchdowns. He also produced as a pass-catching back, hauling in 22 receptions for 286 yards. Bell has been an important part of the Lions’ backfield rotation since 2013, but the club apparently will look for a No. 2 back elsewhere in ’16.
Bell was due to earn $2.5MM in 2016, a sum that would be very reasonable for a No. 2 tailback. However, Bell was not projected to be the main understudy to Abdullah, thanks to the emergence of Theo Riddick. Much of Bell’s value is tied to his receiving ability, but that’s a role that Riddick filled very capably in 2015. Riddick caught 80 catches (99 targets) for 697 yards in 2015, making him a favorite in the Detroit locker room as well as in PPR fantasy football leagues. He also ran for 133 yards off of 43 carries.
The Lions save $1MM by cutting Bell while carrying $2.5MM in dead money.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.