A look at the Lions' RB cap since 2010

April, 29, 2014
Apr 29
3:15
PM ET
At one time, the Detroit Lions had the best running back in the history of the NFL. Now, the Lions have turned into one of the most pass-heavy teams in the league with a sometimes-accurate young quarterback and the best wide receiver in the game.

Yet in 2014, the Lions will spend a decent chunk of money -- the most the team has since 2010 -- on their running back corps.

[+] EnlargeDetroit's Reggie Bush
AP Photo/Jose JuarezReggie Bush will account for seven percent of the Lions' cap space used on offense next season.
A salary-cap breakdown of the running backs Detroit has employed since the 2010 season shows increased attention paid to who lines up in the backfield, mostly due to the signing of Reggie Bush before the 2013 season.

It'll be like this at least for the next two seasons -- provided Bush and Joique Bell remain on the roster -- as the team has committed to both through the 2016 season. The Lions' cap number for running backs, as of now, will be at least $9 million until that year, when Bush, Bell and Theo Riddick are all unrestricted free agents.

Whether all three make it to the final year of their contracts is another matter, but compared to prior years, Detroit is starting to invest in its backfield. Here's the breakdown working backward from this coming season to 2010. One other interesting thing to look at is the salary progression of Bell, who has turned into a valuable piece for the Lions. (Non-2014 numbers are end-season cap numbers; numbers culled from ESPN Stats & Information.)

2014
Total numbers: $10,663,107 (cap value); 16.62 percent (offensive cap percentage); 7.74 percent (total cap percentage); $11,473,297 (cash value).

By players:

  • Reggie Bush $4.5 million (cap value); 7.02 percent (offensive cap); 3.27 percent (total cap).
  • Joique Bell $2.3 million (cap value); 3.59 percent (offensive cap); 1.67 percent (total cap).
  • Montell Owens $1.13 million (cap value); 1.76 percent (offensive cap); .82 percent (total cap).
  • Mikel Leshoure $1,085,357 (cap number); 1.69 percent (offensive cap); .79 percent (total cap).
  • Jed Collins $710,000 (cap value); 1.11 percent (offensive cap); .52 percent (total cap).
  • Theo Riddick $517,750 (cap value); .81 percent (offensive cap); .38 (total cap).
  • Steven Miller $420,000 (cap value); .65 percent (offensive cap); .31 percent (total cap).
2013
Total numbers: $4,962,709 (cap value); 8.38 percent (offensive cap); 4.74 (total cap); $7,913,898 (cash value).

By players:

  • Bush $2 million (cap value); 3.38 percent (offensive cap); 1.91 percent (total cap).
  • Owens $975,700 (cap value); 1.65 percent (offensive cap); .93 percent (total cap).
  • Leshoure $929,259 (cap value); 1.57 percent (offensive cap); .89 percent (total cap).
  • Bell $630,000 (cap value); 1.06 percent (offensive cap); .60 (total cap).
  • Riddick $427,750 (cap value); .72 percent (offensive cap); .41 percent (total cap).
2012
Total numbers: $4,550,837 (cap value); 7.30 percent (offensive cap); 3.77 percent (total cap); $3,143,441 (cash value).

By players:

  • Jahvid Best $1,745,805 (cap value); 2.80 percent (offensive cap); 1.45 percent (total cap).
  • Stefan Logan $837,305 (cap value); 1.34 percent (offensive cap); .69 percent (total cap).
  • Mikel Leshoure $730,749 (cap value); 1.17 percent (offensive cap); .61 percent (total cap).
  • Joique Bell $544,960 (cap value); .87 percent (offensive cap); .45 percent (total cap).
  • Shaun Chapas $82,058 (cap value); .13 percent (offensive cap); .07 percent (total cap).
2011
Total numbers: $6,733,718 (cap value); 10.64 percent (offensive cap); 5.76 percent (total cap); $9,131,406 (cash value).

By players:

  • Best $2,650,500 (cap value); 4.19 percent (offensive cap); 2.27 percent (total cap).
  • Maurice Morris $2.125 million (cap value); 3.36 percent (offensive cap); 1.82 percent (total cap).
  • Leshoure $624,396 (cap value); .99 percent (offensive cap); .53 percent (total cap).
  • Jerome Harrison $575,000 (cap value); .91 percent (offensive cap); .49 percent (total cap).
  • Keiland Williams $450,000 (cap value); .71 percent (offensive cap); .38 percent (total cap).
  • Kevin Smith $282,352 (cap value); .45 percent (offensive cap); .24 percent (total cap).
  • Bell $26,470 (cap value); .04 percent (offensive cap); .02 percent (total cap).
2010
Total numbers: $4,629,094 (cap value); 6.44 percent (offensive cap); 4.11 percent (total cap); $5,217,000 (cash value).

By players:

  • Morris $1.8 million (cap value); 2.47 percent (offensive cap); 1.58 percent (total cap).
  • Best $1.27 million (cap value); 1.74 percent (offensive cap); 1.11 percent (total cap).
  • Smith $686,631 (cap value); .94 percent (offensive cap); .60 percent (total cap).
  • Jerome Felton $515,368 (cap value); .71 percent (offensive cap); .45 percent (total cap).
  • Aaron Brown $420,095 (cap value); .58 percent (offensive cap); .37 percent (total cap).

Michael Rothstein | email

ESPN Detroit Lions reporter

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