The Philadelphia Eagles have announced that they have to terms on a five year contract with left tackle Demetress Bell. Bell, formerly of the Buffalo Bills had been making visits to a few teams including the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers. The addition of Bell comes shortly after the Eagles lost their starting left tackle (and arguably the best one in the league) Jason Peters when he ruptured his Achilles training at home.
Philadelphia had previously locked up tackle King Dunlap for a year in the midst of the terrible news about Peters. He was not widely regarded as a sufficient option to take over at the position, however. While it is next to impossible to find someone of Peters’ caliber, Bell is definitely an upgrade to what the Eagles already had on their roster. Bell, a 6-5, 311 pound behemoth out of Northwestern State – Louisiana, has started 30 games in the last 3 years for Buffalo, including all 16 games in 2010.
The Eagles were desperate to find someone to sure up the tackle position. While left tackle is not quite as important in Philadelphia as it is for many other teams (due to the fact that they have a left handed quarterback), it is a position of importance, nonetheless. The Eagles will only go as far as Michael Vick leads them, and in order for Vick to lead, he must be healthy and playing. For Vick to be healthy, he needs protection, which is why the addition of Bell is huge. In addition, running back LeSean McCoy is looking to build on a stellar 2011 campaign, and he cannot be expected to do so behind a makeshift offensive line.
Getting this deal done now gives Bell and the Eagles an entire offseason to work together and get things going. The fact that it happened well in advance of the draft also allows Philadelphia to reevaluate their draft strategy and plan accordingly, knowing they have someone to fill the position until Peters can return.