Now that we’re in full offseason mode, we’re going to review every single Detroit Lions player that finished the 2016 season under contract. We’ll look at their expectations coming into the season, whether they met those expectations and what to expect of them going forward. We will begin with the upcoming free agents, as they are the most intriguing and time sensitive.
Expectations before 2016
Joique Bell had a tumultuous offseason. The local running back was reportedly offered a pay cut early in 2016, but turned it down and was subsequently released. While Bell was hopeful for a second chance, having admitted he wish he hadn’t turned down the Lions’ initial offer, Detroit was no longer interested. They picked up Justin Forsett and went about their way into the regular season—even though Forsett never made the final roster.
However, injuries took a toll on the Lions during the season and after a brief stint with the Chicago Bears, Joique returned back home to the Lions in Week 14.
Actual role in 2016
2016 stats: 7 games (3 with Lions), 0 starts — 3 rushes, 6 yards; 1 reception, -2 yards
Joique Bell was a complete non-factor in 2016, whether it was with the Bears or with the Lions. Bell was active and available for the Lions down the stretch, but Detroit did not use the veteran running back on offense, simply delegating him to special teams snaps.
In 2015, Bell received 112 touches as part of the Lions offense. For the entire 2016 season, Bell touched the ball four times.
Outlook for 2017
Contract status: Unrestricted free agent
The Lions are still in the same situation they were in last year. They aren’t particularly strong in the backfield, and they could certainly use a veteran presence. However, it may be curtains for Bell’s career. The hometown favorite was able to pull himself back onto the Lions roster last year, but seventh-round rookie Dwayne Washington was able to get more playing time than Joique. It’s hard to imagine Bell playing any sort of meaningful football ever again as a Detroit Lion.
Previously profiled Lions: Riley Reiff, Anquan Boldin, Dan Orlovsky, Devin Taylor, Rafael Bush, Don Muhlbach, Larry Warford, Andre Roberts, TJ Jones, Kerry Hyder, Jon Bostic, Marvin Jones, Alex Carter, Tim Wright, Armonty Bryant, Clay Harbor, Crezdon Butler, Matthew Mulligan, Asa Jackson, Tyrunn Walker, Josh Bynes, Stefan Charles, Cornelius Lucas, Steve Longa