3.1 million per year over 3 years might seem like too much money for a backup running back considering the way the running back position has been devalued, but Joique Bell, a restricted free agent, might have been the best running back on the open market if he were an unrestricted free agent. If you compare this deal to deals received by Darren McFadden (1 year, 4 million), Ben Tate (2 years, 7 million), Donald Brown (3 years, 10.5 million), and Rashad Jennings (4 years, 14 million), this is a very reasonable deal.
Bell is one of the better and more important backup running backs in the NFL, playing 562 snaps, 23rd most in the NFL among running backs. He graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 9th ranked running back in 2013 and 12th ranked in 2012. In the past 2 seasons, he’s averaged 4.3 yards per carry, while serving as a valuable goal line back (11 touchdowns) and receiver out of the backfield (105 catches). He’s even more important considering Reggie Bush’s injury history and age (going into his age 29 season). This was a very solid move to bring him back.