The Philadelphia Eagles have reached agreement on a five-year contract with offensive tackle Demetress Bell, according to a report on the Eagles’ official website. (By the way, his real name is Demetress, not Demetrius, but no one is sure why we’ve been calling Demetrius this whole time.)
Bell’s contract is for five years and is worth $35 million, according to a source.
Bell, 27, will almost certainly replace five-time Pro Bowler Jason Peters at the starting left tackle position, although there is still the option that King Dunlap could start.
Peters, easily the best lineman on the Eagles and arguably the top offensive tackle in the entire National Football League, ruptured his right Achilles tendon in an offseason workout down in Texas last week. He will likely miss all of the 2012 season and it’s unclear whether he will ever be the same player, or if he will even play again in the NFL.
The addition of Bell brings a big, athletic tackle to an Eagles’ line that improved significantly in 2011 with the addition of veteran coach Howard Mudd.
I am surprised that Bell signed a five-year deal, instead of a one-year deal. However, I think it’s a precaution in case Peters doesn’t recover. I would be surprised if the Eagles didn’t make it possible to back out of Bell’s contract after the 2012 season.
Bell played in just seven games in 2011, struggling with various injuries before he was placed on IR with a shoulder injury. He started all 16 games in 2010 but played in just eight games in 2009 before suffering a knee injury that ended his season. He was drafted in the seventh round in 2008 but did not play at all as a rookie.
Pro Football Focus rated Bell as the 17th best offensive tackle in the NFL last season. Bell allowed one sack, one hit, nine pressures, and committed no penalties. Only two tackles played in fewer plays and drew a better rating than Bell.
In 2010, Bell ranked 51st among offensive tackles, drawing a -13.0 rating. He particularly struggled on run blocking. That season, he gave up four sacks, 10 hits, 29 pressures, and committed five penalties.
Bell replaced Peters as the starting left tackle in Buffalo after Peters went to Philadelphia. It’s ironic that he is now likely replacing Peters as the starting left tackle, again.