Under contract: Joique Bell (2016), Reggie Bush (2016), Theo Riddick (2016), George Winn (2015)
Free agents: None
The Lions don't technically have any free agents at running back this offseason, but Reggie Bush might as well be one. Lions general manager Martin Mayhew admitted this week that Bush's future with the team is up in the air, and if there is a need for extra cap space, Bush could find himself out of a job. He could also find himself being offered a lesser deal in order to avoid being cut.
One of the reasons behind the uncertainty surrounding Bush's future is that Joique Bell has clearly established himself as the Lions' lead running back. Bell was the better running back last year, and unlike Bush, his season wasn't derailed by injuries. Bell will likely continue to be the Lions' lead running back going forward, although Bush will continue to have a role in the offense if he remains on the team.
If Bush is let go, Theo Riddick would be in line for more playing time. Riddick was excellent in the passing game last season, and although his abilities as a more traditional running back are still somewhat of a mystery, the Lions would be wise to get him the ball more often going forward.
The Lions also have George Winn at running back. He showed some flashes when given a chance to play on offense in 2014, but he was mainly a special teams contributor.
Need going forward?
On paper, the Lions seem set at running back. They have a nice committee with Bell, Bush and Riddick, and even Winn is someone who can make the most of a few carries every now and then. Of course, this is based on the assumption that Bush will remain on the team, and it's based on the assumption that everybody is healthy. Considering Bush very well may not be on the team next season, and considering injuries to running backs are basically a given, I suppose we should be careful about making assumptions at this position.
With that in mind, I do think there is a need that exists at running back, even if Bush isn't released. The Lions could use more talent in the running game, and this year's draft is loaded at the running back position. I know a lot of people have suggested drafting a running back in the first or second round, but this seems like the type of draft where the Lions could get good value by adding another weapon to the backfield in the third round or perhaps even later. Throw in an undrafted free agent or two for the practice squad and the Lions would indeed be set at running back going into the 2015 season.