Who does the team need more?
In Kerryon Johnson, the Lions have a very solid top running back already, so adding Bell would be more of a luxury than filling an immediate need. Detroit could have had Kareem Hunt for a price tag of 17 times less than Bell is going to cost. A strong argument can be made to find a second running back in a middle round of the draft if that’s what you really want and try to get some added value from a rookie contract.
Just look at Matthew Stafford’s numbers after the Golden Tate trade for how much a new slot receiver would mean to him.
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Current offense vs envisioned offense
With the offense as is, Antonio Brown couldn’t be a more perfect complement to Kenny Golladay and security blanket to Matthew Stafford. However, Matt Patricia has made clear that a ball-control, smashmouth, throwback offense is what he envisions for that side of the ball moving forward (which I’m okay with, as long as that side of the ball is moving forward).
Considering who the quarterback is, league-wide trends, and pass-friendly rule changes, a top end receiver makes more sense than a top end running back. However, I will defer to the head coach and new offensive coordinator for this one.