The Lions and running back Joique Bell have been working on a contract extension for a while now, but coming into today, they hadn't agreed on anything yet. So, to make sure the restricted free agent didn't slip through their fingers when free agency officially begins this afternoon, the Lions put a second-round tender on Bell. That tender put Bell under contract for 2014, allowed the two sides to keep working toward a long-term deal and guaranteed that the Lions would receive a second-round pick if another team came along with an offer Bell couldn't refuse.
But we didn't have to wait long for that new deal to arrive. Just a few hours in fact. The Lions have given Bell a three-year extension worth $9.3 million, including $4.3 million guaranteed according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Bell had a breakout season in 2013 as he gained almost 1,200 yards from scrimmage, caught 53 passes and scored eight touchdowns despite playing second fiddle to Reggie Bush for most of the year.
For what it's worth, that $4.3 million is more guaranteed money than the Lions gave Bush prior to last season. It's hard to argue that Bell's not worth it. He fit so well into Detroit's pass-happy offense, but he has also shown himself to be a tough, between-the-tackles runner. That skill will serve him well this season as new head coach Jim Caldwell inputs a more traditional offense. Bush is still the leader of this timeshare, but Bell is one of the best handcuffs/secondary RBs to own. He gets enough work to be considered an every-week flex play.