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Packers to Host Free-Agent OT Demetrius Bell Next Week

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Packers to Host Free-Agent OT Demetrius Bell Next Week

Despite signing two players and potentially a third, GM Ted Thompson apparently isn't done scouring the free-agent market.

According to Joe Buscaglia of WGR 550 in Buffalo, New York, offensive tackle Demetrius Bell will visit with the Packers sometime next week. It will mark Bell's third free-agent visit, having already met with the Washington Redskins and Arizona Cardinals.

If signed, Bell would join Jeff Saturday and Daniel Muir, and potentially Anthony Hargrove, as free agents acquired by Thompson already this offseason.

A seventh-round pick of the Bills in 2008, Bell has started 30 of 31 career games. He rose up quickly after the Bills took him as a project tackle out of Northwestern State.

Despite not appearing in a single game his rookie season, Bell emerged as the Bills' starting left tackle in 2009 and remained the starter until Week 10, when he suffered a knee injury that later placed him on season-ending IR.

He came back in 2010 healthy and as the penciled in starter on the left side of the Bills' offensive line. He started all 16 games but graded out as Pro Football Focus' No. 52 overall offensive tackle after allowing four sacks, 10 quarterback hits and 29 pressures on 978 total offensive snaps. Bell's grade took big hits for his run blocking work.

Bell got another crack to be the Bills starter in 2011, starting the first four games of the year before a shoulder injury (broken collarbone) cost him the next nine contests. He returned in Week 14 but missed the season finale with a knee injury. In seven total games, Bell allowed just one sack, one quarterback hit and seven pressures, which equated to PFF's No. 17 overall rating at the tackle position in 2011.

He underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in late December.

The Bills let Bell hit the open market and likely have plans on drafting an offensive tackle high in the 2012 NFL draft. At this point of free agency, Bell could come as a bargain.

An athletic and ideally sized (6-5, 311 lbs.) offensive lineman, Bell could also provide depth at the tackle position, especially if the Packers let Chad Clifton go like some have speculated. Turning 36 years old in June with a failing body and $5.75 million cap number, Clifton is a prime candidate to be cut sometime before his roster bonus kicks late this summer.

Bell, 27, would likely compete with Marshall Newhouse to be the Packers' starting left tackle. It's also possible that Green Bay could move Bryan Bulaga over to the left, in which Bell could be a potential fit on the right side. The Packers also have to consider the health of 2011 first-round pick Derek Sherrod, who fractured his tibia and fibula in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs last season.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (37) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

packsmack25's picture

So essentially we signed this guy. No one comes to Green Bay and then signs elsewhere.

Zach Kruse's picture

I wouldn't go that far, but if Bell has a choice with money being equal between the three teams, why not Green Bay?

Evan's picture

Another move I'd like. Move BB to LT and let the three guys battle for RT. Nice depth along the o-line.

Zach Kruse's picture

I'm slowly coming around to the idea of Bulaga moving over to left tackle. I know Brian is a big proponent of the switch. Might as well have your best guy over there, even if both tackles are nearly equal in importance these days. Bell would give depth at both spots.

Evan's picture

Yeah, I think of it in exactly those simple terms: put the best player at LT.

wgbeethree's picture

Just my two cents but I'm going to disagree on the always putting your best player at LT. For us it isn't necessary. We play so much out of the shotgun that there really isn't a "blindside" on most plays. Rodgers has excellent pocket awareness and is the best in the world IMO throwing the ball when moving right so if there is pressure you actually WANT it coming from the left. Let Sitton and Bulaga dominate the right side so if there is pressure Rodgers can scramble to his preferred side. It goes against conventional wisdom to have your best tackle not protecting your QBs blindside but I think it works best for us.

cow42's picture

what in the f is going on here?
not sure i'm comfortable with this tt.

as long as everything works out financially, i guess.

if they sign hargrove and bell they're tradin' up. i can feel it.

Evan's picture

This is the same TT as always - bargain shopping. He just is doing a little more of it this year. At least on potentially more substantial players.

Zach Kruse's picture

Agree with Evan. Bargain shopping at its finest. If Bell is signed by the Packers, it will be for dirt cheap money. He was effective enough last season when healthy that its worth the flier.

MarkinMadison's picture

Sign him for cheap to a 1 or 2 year deal. He gets another crack at the market, and a chance to up his value. Packers get insurance in case Sherrod can't pan out this year. I like it.

Rocky70's picture

If TT's not careful the D&D (Draft & Develope) people will soon disown TT or at least they'll take down his life-size poster from their rec-room wall.

With 12 draft picks and eight that can be traded, TT could be the wheeler-dealer of the 2012 draft. It's what you do when a window that was wide open has suddenly slid down a few inches.

Zach Kruse's picture

I think the chances of him moving up in the first round have increased significantly.

Evan's picture

God, the draft can't come fast enough.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture


Bearmeat's picture

I think you are right. It's looking more and more like TT is taking care of as many 'needs' as possible in the FA bargain bin.

IMO this gives him flexibility in the draft to either:

A. Take the BPA - (most likely)
B. Go up and 'get' someone they really like.

BubbaOne's picture

This is the time of year to speculate so here's an unlikely but more intriguing scenario. TT signed Muir and may sign Hargrove, Bell, Tollefson, and Lawson to free up pick 28 to sign RFA Mike Wallace. Wallace is young, a known quantity, and a deep threat. Steelers are cap strapped. DD may not be back and Jennings will want a big payday after this season.
Wallace has said he wants Larry Fitzgerald money and I don’t know his character so I doubt TT signs him but who knows, stranger things have happened.

Evan's picture

Ha! Sorry, dude.

PackersRS's picture

Unless Sherrod's injury is worse than we know (not likely to come back this season), not sure bringing an injury-prone average LT is a good move.

Evan's picture

Even as a backup? I'd think playing a reserve role would help stem the injury bug a bit, maybe?

PackersRS's picture

Spending money in FA for a backup is a bad move. Duke Preston. We have 12 picks. It's impossible to trade them all. Rather a late rounder on a backup.

Unless we're talking insignificant money in here, which I don't think. Doubt he'll cost less than $1.5MI, which is cap money we don't have quite frankly, not for a backup.

Evan's picture

Haven't we had this conversation before? I agree. It all comes down to the price.

ohenry78's picture

What else are they going to spend it on? Unless it changed in the new CBA, my understanding is that the rookie pool doesn't count against the cap number that we see. As for in-season signings, the only players that they might want to look at signing mid-season are TJ Lang, Tim Masthay, Greg Jennings and Sam Shields. Three of those four could still be signed mid-season even if they signed this guy.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that we have roughly $5M in cap room, why not spend a bit of it here?

PackersRS's picture

Not true.

Rookie pool is just a limit ammount the team can spend on rookies. Doesn't mean they don't count against the cap.

Zach Kruse's picture

He has shown some flashes. And if he's cheap and comes with little risk financially, why not?

Bearmeat's picture

Exactly. Think about it. How many 'stars' have come off the scrap heap? A TON.

For starters - Priest Holmes. He was a backup for years before he got a shot.

How about our Very Own Desmond Bishop?

OK, one more: What about Matt Schaub?

If he's cheap - sign him. If not - let him go to AZ. They're desperate.

Rocky70's picture

Signing Bell may be the final straw that gets Chad Clifton finally released. In effect, GB would gain cap space with Bell in & Clifton out.

Evan's picture

I'd make that trade.

PackersRS's picture

I don't think Clifton's departure is dependant on Bell's signing. At least it shouldn't be.

MarkinMadison's picture

I can't see them keeping Clifton either way - at least not without a huge pay cut.

Mojo's picture

Have to agree with RS here. Seems average and injury prone. Unless they don't feel confident about Newhouse I would concentrate on Lawson.

Evan's picture

I just noticed that red stripe in his hair. Dude is Rufio. Sign him!!

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Well, OK... I guess... But we still better get Manny frickin Lawson. Lol... Manny frickin Lawson.


Jamie's picture

So now we have people arguing/complaining about TT understanding & managing the salary cap? Bell is quality depth on a team that needs depth at Tackle, period. Let's let TT and Russ Ball worry about the cap.

dawg's picture

Ol-DL need all the help we can get, sign 80 and single em out to the best 5 per side.
Can't you see the madness?
Dr. Thompson

Joel Klein's picture

Are we just going to completely forget about Derek Sherrod? Is he just a total bust now?

BLACK HAWK's picture


DD-393's picture

I'm thinking that Bell would be a good depth pickup. Plus, it would push Newhouse. Competition makes players better. I'm wondering if Sherrod starts the season on PUP. If Bell signs, that might signal the end of Cliffy in GB.

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