The Detroit Lions had the NFL‘s worst rushing offense last season (83.4 yards per game), and the release of Joique Bell created a void on the depth chart behind Ameer Abdullah. On Friday, the Lions took a step toward bolstering their running back situation by agreeing to a contract with Stevan Ridley.
Former Jets and Patriots RB Stevan Ridley announced he’s signing with the Lions.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 1, 2016
Ridley spent the 2015 season with the New York Jets, racking up 36 carries for 90 yards over nine games as he worked his way back from a torn ACL and MCL from the previous season with the New England Patriots. That’s where the tie to the Lions comes, as general manager Bob Quinn was working in New England when Ridley was there.
Ridley does not contribute much in the passing game, with just 27 career receptions over 59 games, but prior to his knee injury he was a capable power back with goal line chops (19 rushing touchdowns in 2012 and 2013 combined). The best season of his career to this point came in 2012 with New England, with career-highs across the board (290 carries for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns), and a solid follow-up came in 2013 (178 carries for 773 yards and seven scores).
Nearly two years removed from a torn ACL, Ridley should be just about 100 percent healthy. The Lions don’t need another back to catch passes, with Theo Riddick (80 receptions in 2015) and Abdullah (25 receptions last season) in place, so Ridley fits the team’s need for a short yardage and goal line back who could do more if called upon. On what’s being reported as a one-year deal, Ridley should give Detroit plenty of bang for their buck next season.