by: Larry Lage Updated:DETROIT —
The Detroit Lions achieved one of their top goals this offseason, retaining Joique Bell, and took a step toward another one, setting up a meeting with Golden Tate.
The Lions and Bell agreed to a $9.3 million, three-year contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. The person, who said $4.3 million of the contract is guaranteed, spoke Tuesday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.
Detroit is also determined to add a player to complement wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
Tate appears to be a good fit.
The free agent wide receiver will meet with the Lions, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person, who said Tate was traveling to Detroit on Tuesday night, spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because the visit had not been announced.
Tate led the Seattle Seahawks with 64 catches and 898 yards receiving last season, setting career highs in both categories. The former Notre Dame star also scored five touchdowns last season, giving him 15 in his four-year career.
"I definitely do not want to play against Seattle, I'll tell you that," Tate said in February after Seattle's Super Bowl parade. "I don't want to play against Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor for sure, but we'll see. Only time will tell. I think I set myself up regardless if it's here — hopefully it's here — or elsewhere with the way I play the game."
Detroit also agreed to a one-year deal with wide receiver Kevin Ogletree, according to another person familiar with negotiations, speaking to AP on condition of anonymity because the deal hadn't been announced.
The Lions really wanted Bell back, and can probably find a spot on the roster for Ogletree.
Bell had a team-high eight touchdowns rushing last season. He was second to Reggie Bush with 166 carries for 650 yards rushing for the Lions last year. Bell ranked third on the team in each of the last two seasons in Detroit with a combined 105 receptions for 1,032 yards.
While Bush gives Detroit a speedy and shifty threat out of the backfield, the 5-foot-11, 220-pound Bell provides much-needed power.
He has run for 1,064 yards — 4.3 yards per carry — and 11 TDs in two seasons with the Lions. The undrafted free agent from Wayne State University in Detroit played a total of eight games as a rookie in 2010 with the Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles.
Bell won the Harlon Hill Trophy as the NCAA Division II Player of the Year after rushing for 2,084 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2009.
Eventually, Bell proved he could make the jump to the NFL.
The Benton Harbor, Mich., native has found a home with the Lions, who signed him off New Orleans' practice squad late in the 2011 season after he bounced around with the Saints, Eagles, Colts and Bills.
Ogletree can potentially help Detroit because Nate Burleson was released and Ryan Broyles has struggled to stay healthy. He had 13 receptions for 199 yards and a touchdown in 12 games last season for the Lions, who signed him after Tampa Bay cut him. Ogletree has 78 career receptions for 999 yards and six touchdowns over five seasons, four of which were with the Dallas Cowboys.
In free agency or the draft, the Lions are hoping to add a No. 2 receiver — perhaps Tate — and a safety to start alongside Glover Quin to replace Burleson and Louis Delmas, both of whom were released this offseason. Delmas has signed with the Miami Dolphins.
The Lions would also like to sign Ndamukong Suh to a new contract to avoid having the defensive tackle count more than $20 million against the salary cap this year.