The Detroit Lions have been quietly busy this off-season. Most notably, they have decided to continue their rebuilding success without the services of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who as of Sunday is reportedly going to sign with the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday when the new NFL season officially begins. They also decided to cut running back Reggie Bush after just two seasons with the team. Bush signed a 4-year deal before the 2013 season, and racked up a shade over 1,300 total yards in 25 games with Detroit over the last two seasons. Detroit cut him last month.
The Lions are now in need of another speedy tailback to pair with running back Joique Bell in the backfield. The Lions, like many teams in the NFL today, have grown to having a “thunder and lightning” running back tandem. Bell is considered the “thunder”, because of his ability to run and break through tackles. Bush was intended to be the “lightning”, because of his ability to shake tacklers, create space in the open field, and catch passes out of the backfield. Bush unfortunately only appeared in 11 games last season due to injuries. Running back Theo Riddick filled in nicely during Bush’s absence, compiling over 350 total yards in 14 games, and was a viable option for quarterback Matthew Stafford in short 3rd downs. Despite Riddick’s signs of development last season, Detroit will be searching for a running back this off-season, whether it be via free agency or in the 2015 NFL Draft.
On Sunday, it was reported that the Lions were one of a handful of teams to be interested in now-former Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller.
— Rand Getlin (@RandGetlin) March 7, 2015
Spiller, the 5-year back out of Clemson, reportedly turned down an offer from the Bills and will pursue free agency. Buffalo agreed earlier this week to a trade for Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy. With veteran running back Fred Jackson also on the roster and more than likely going to back up McCoy, Spiller was being shown the door and will look for a job elsewhere.
C.J. Spiller played in only 9 games in 2014, totaling 300 yards on the ground and 125 yards through the air. His best season was in 2012, where he rushed for over 1,200 yards, averaged 6.0 yards per carry, and also collected 459 receiving yards. Spiller has that explosive “lightning” factor if you will, where he has returned kickoffs and punts for Buffalo during his time there. Like Reggie Bush, Spiller has shown to be a bit injury-prone, as he missed time last season due to a collarbone injury.
C.J. Spiller, assuming he could stay healthy, would be helpful in “Honolulu Blue”. With that said, the Lions only saved themselves approximately $1.7 million in cap space when they let Reggie Bush go. If they decide not to sign a running back in free agency, look for them to draft one early in the draft. Potential draft picks could be Wisconsin Badgers running back Melvin Gordon or Indiana Hoosiers running back Tevin Coleman.