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Report: Packers Agree to Terms With OT Byron Bell

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Report: Packers Agree to Terms With OT Byron Bell

-- Some reinforcement in the form of a veteran offensive lineman is heading north.

The Green Bay Packers are expected to sign 29-year-old Byron Bell, according to his Instagram.

Bell, an undrafted free agent signed by the Carolina Panthers in 2011, has started 74 games for three different teams throughout a seven-year career. The Packers may not need him to start, but given the state of their right tackle position, he may be in the running for the job.

Bryan Bulaga isn't expected to be ready by the start of the 2018 regular season after suffering a torn ACL in November. That'd leave Jason Spriggs or Kyle Murphy as the two primary options to take his place unless Bell can shake things up.

After the Panthers opted not to re-sign him at the end of the 2014 season, Bell spent the next two years with the Tennesee Titans before playing as a backup to Dallas Cowboys All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith in 2017.

During the season, Bell was passed on the depth chart as Chaz Green became the Cowboys' secondary swing tackle. However, he was beaten to a pulp to the tune of five sacks from Atlanta Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn. Bell then replaced Green, allowing just one more with little help on his side of the offensive line.

The poor gameplan from the Cowboys' coaching staff didn't cost Bell his image, but the Cowboys chose not to re-sign Bell after the season. Now, Packers offensive line coach James Campen gets a serviceable veteran to plug into the room with Bulaga's status up in the air.

Still, the Packers may need some support on the interior if they deem Bell fit for the position.

Prior to missing all of the 2016 season -- his last with the Titans -- Bell started the first seven games of the 2015 campaign at left guard. The Packers already have Lane Taylor there and they're expected to have Justin McCray for right guard.

The ideology behind this signing could just be that general manager Brian Gutekunst is following the blueprint of investing in veteran depth at a variety of different positions. Evidently, that includes the offensive line, where Bell can play at least three positions.

The Packers were also interested in Bell last year when they hosted in for a visit along with returning running back Christine Michael.


Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (67) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

The TKstinator's picture

So, in Dallas, Byron backed up Tyron?
And this season he joins Bryan?
Dyslexics everywhere are wincing in pain.

4thand1's picture

Emoclew noryB

Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

Hope he and his wife Robyn like Green Bay.

zeke's picture

Dyslexics of the world, untie!

LambeauPlain's picture

Painful enough to make a person start "cryin"!

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I don't think you guys understand what dyslexia is... :)

The TKstinator's picture


dobber's picture

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

The TKstinator's picture

Ding ding ding!
I tossed that one out there hoping for that reply!
You win one free visit to Miracle Max’s, and remember to avoid the Fire Swamp.
As long as you don’t have six fingers on your left hand, that is.

dobber's picture

I'm only MOSTLY dead.

The TKstinator's picture

In that case, no need for anyone to go through your pockets and look for loose change.

dobber's picture

We could go on for days...

worztik's picture

Found out yesterday I have stage 3-4 cancer!!! Go Pack Go!!! Priorities, boys!!!

dobber's picture

Yikes, friend! Take care of yourself and my best wishes for a full and speedy recovery!

The TKstinator's picture


Point Packer's picture

I'm just happy that Don Barclay is no longer GB's "versatile" sieve of an offensive lineman.

"He plays the right way" - Mike McCarthy on Don Barclay

Good grief.

bbarryirish's picture

Excellent! Love this addition. Can now start the year with an experienced RT. Someone who can keep ARod healthy til Bulaga’s return?
(Look out.... we could also see Bulaga released now $$)

LambeauPlain's picture

How would releasing The Whale make any sense if he is looking to be a healthy start at RT?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Any setback in his rehab would raise the issue. Overall, I think we probably should keep Bulaga, though.

croatpackfan's picture

This signing (if the news are true - it is not announced on, and we do not have reason not to believe in it), that tells us coaches are not satisfied with neither with Jason Spriggs nor with Kyle Murphy. Not good for both of them...

Minniman's picture

Throw in the addition of Marcedes Lewis as a predominant blocking tight end too croat.

"trust - but verify"

They may not be signing off on Spriggs or Murphy just yet, but if this signing is correct, then the new packers front office isn't waiting till mid season and having to rush a plan b.

Circling back on another thread, they clearly have something in mind at EDGE if they are also filling perceived holes at TE and O-line.

They seem to be living up to the mantra of "no stone left un-turned"

Spock's picture

Croat, FYI: The Packers official site is the LAST place to look for confirmation of whether a player is signing. The team's official policy is to never announce a player signing until they have actually signed the papers AND pass the physical. This is why you will read about a player signing for GB several days before you see it posted on their site. This is often asked of the team site writers and is frustrating to them as well. If you have gone to Vic Ketchman's new site he explains how he disliked this policy immensely!

mrtundra's picture

Just look at when GB traded Randall for Kizer. It was at least 4 days before the site reported the trade and at that time there was't much else to report on except for possible draft targets.

mrtundra's picture

Just look at when GB traded Randall for Kizer. It was at least 4 days before the site reported the trade and at that time there was't much else to report on except for possible draft targets.

hodge555's picture

Well it only took them a day this time, must be a slow week :-)
Jacob Alsadek released to make room.

Hawg Hanner's picture

Both Spriggs and Murphy will make the cut. Replaces Jahri

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Wait to see the guaranteed money, Croat. Last year Dallas gave him $250K. Probably played himself to getting less this time around.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

GB gave Bell a $500K signing bonus. $1.712M cap hit.

Looks like Bell is going to make the team, short of being awful.

dobber's picture

I am a bit surprised at the contract structure...

Nick Perry's picture

Hmmm... I think this move speaks volumes about how Gutekunst feels about both Spriggs and Murphy, that and perhaps where they are in their recovery's from their surgeries. Again I like the move by BG. He's NOT sitting on his hands HOPING an UDFA or holdover gets the Packers by. He's bringing in veterans who have actually played in the NFL and added better competition in the O-Line group.

What's not to like from our new GM? He went after a few CB's and a couple of the better WR available in FA this year, AND signed the best pass catching and run blocking TE's available. He's also added a veteran CB who will only help or young CB's be better and my favorite signing still ... Big Mo.

This IS NOT your Ted Thompson Packers anymore. With limited dollars and the draft Gutekunst has made the Packers much better than they were when he replaced Thompson.

Packer Fan's picture

Nick, I agree with you totally. BG is doing what we wanted TT to so. Bring in veterans to provide depth. And this guy will play because someone always gets hurt. And may even start.

Ryan Graham's picture

I'm sold on BG as well. He set to bring in Barwin or Dumervil next...?

Donster's picture

"This IS NOT your Ted Thompson Packers anymore. With limited dollars and the draft Gutekunst has made the Packers much better than they were when he replaced Thompson."

Totally agree Nick. Excellent post!

RCPackerFan's picture

I didn't read yours before writing mine. But I said very similar things about Gutekunst.

I just really like what he has done in his first year as GM. How can we not like what he has done.

He has remade the WR, TE and CB positions. He brought in a pro bowl DL, he has now added depth to the OL. Also added speed at ILB with Burks and at the very least gave competition to Hundley at QB. Oh and he also picked up a 1st round pick for next year, by moving down 4 spots in the draft. Impressive first year!

RCPackerFan's picture

Without reading to much into this, I think its a good move to bring in a veteran player that has 74 starts and can play multiple positions.

Do they think that Bulaga isn't healing as fast and want more stability at RT? Do they feel that McCray or Madison isn't ready at RG? Do they just want a veteran who can play 4 positions?

What I do like most about this move is that it keeps showing that Gutekunst is a different GM then Thompson. Gutekunst is willing to go out and bring in a veteran player that can fill a role with the team. He isn't going to leave that role to be filled by an UDFA.

In the last week Gutekunst has brought in Marcedes Lewis and now Byron Bell. Both are veterans that will have roles with this team. Lewis will have an immediate impact on the offense. Providing a run blocking presence and also being a good solid receiving weapon for Rodgers in the Passing game. Bell is a veteran that has a lot of experience starting. At the very least he can be a backup who can step in and play if and when needed.

Moves like these are ones that change a team from playoff contending team to a championship contending team. Its adding a key player that can make a difference.

Bearmeat's picture

Great points, RC.

RCPackerFan's picture

See what happens when you take off the aluminum foil hat. You can see and read more clearly. ;)

Bearmeat's picture

LOL. What you call aluminum foil, I call objectivity. Doesn't mean I WANT to be right. I just am usually. ;)

Right, Mr. Unicorns and Fairy dust? :D

RCPackerFan's picture


Who doesn't like to ride Unicorns and sprinkle Fairy Dust?

Since '61's picture

Signing players like Bell, Lewis, T. Williams are exactly the type of moves that I always wished TT would make with FAs but rarely did. These are experienced veterans who can fill a need/role on the team and even start if necessary.

Plus they can help the younger players with their development. This is much better than having inexperienced UDFAs backup young starters.

How it all works out, who knows? But it’s good to see that Gute is much more aggressive than TT with his approach to building out the bottom half of the roster. Thanks, Since ‘61

Johnblood27's picture

Since 61, using veterans to fill the bottom of the roster instead of rookies is the opposite of a draft and develop philosophy. I say philosophy to mean the predominant thought process ruling roster making. I believe a blend of D&D and veteran back-ups will be better than a strict D&D mindset. The downside is that every cut-down some young guys with unrealized potential will be released at the expense of having NFL play-time ready depth on the team heading out of camp.

Every team has some D&D guys, the issue was that TT used the entire bottom third as a farm team which shorted the coach of players that could compete when injuries came.

The CBA and 53 doesn't allow for an in-house farm team. NFL = Not For Long if you cant step up and show you can play. TT had too many bottom third projects and gave them too much time while allowing "growing pains" during NFL games to be the norm instead of the exception.

MM was a facilitator of TT from day one by accepting the "we will coach them up" mantra as his part of the lockstep in the D&D philosophy.

Bottom line - CBA NFL is not a developmental league. Step up or step out.

Savage57's picture

Jason Spriggs = Bust.

Doesn't have the bucket to be able to anchor or the feet to be able to counter.

Stuff like this happens all the time in the NFL, just nice to see Gute address it instead of xing fingers and hoping.

It's not that Ted missed on some picks. His issue was that he didn't act to address their impact.

stockholder's picture

You think Spriggs? I'm thinking Bryan Bulaga! They wanted him to take a cut. This moves pushes Bulaga not Spriggs. Bulaga is getting slower. Bulaga will be waived before the end of camp. And I'm not ruling out a trade either now.

dobber's picture

"Bulaga is getting slower"

The only way he could get slower is if they dug a hole and buried him up to the knees. Speed was never his game.

LambeauPlain's picture

I agree Savage.

The last few years TT let key players walk with little or no resistance....Sitton, Hayward, Hyde, Cook, even Lang who may have been convinced to stay for a bit less but Ted was very non-commital prior to TJ going to Detroit. The Lions showed him the love and it was over.

Gute has been carefully signing FAs with a proven track record, good team leadership, and starting experience to back fill holes on the roster...even starting roles.

And completing the draft with some exciting prospects, a few that may get a lot of snaps this year...and an additional #1 for next year...Gute's doing great!

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I hope we cut Bulaga for cap savings now. This move provides security if both Spriggs and Murphy struggle.

Spriggs is supposedly beefed up in his legs and butt, so we'll see if he's ready to take the next step. He was improvibg before he got injured.

LambeauPlain's picture

I hope Bulaga is a healthy start at RT. If he is you do not cut your 2nd best OL needed to protect franchise QB.

Bulaga's work ethic is always discussed in glowing terms. If anyone can be ready for the season after an ACL, it is him.

If he is struggling to be ready for the opener, that may be the time to discuss a pay cut. And I think he would take it.

Oppy's picture

I don't think the Packers expect Bulaga to be ready until week 6.
And, for what it's worth, the Packers -reportedly- had already asked Bulaga to take a pay cut weeks ago, and Bulaga told them to pound sand.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Agreed, Oppy. I am not familiar with Bell. That said, I suspect that Bulaga would still tell GB to pound sand even after the signing of Bell. As much as I love cap savings, I don't think the 1.5 to 1 ratio of cap savings to dead money is enough to cause me to jettison Bulaga. Plus a healthy Bulaga in game 7 or 8 might have a cascade effect of allowing McCray, Murphy etc. to slide to RG, and improve that position.

DD's picture

Spader: Beluga will not see the field. And if he does it'll be over fast. The fact you say WAS is the operative word for Beluga. Not dependable to team now. Sad, but true. Time to say goodbye.

Bear's picture

Bell struggles to be an average lineman. He’s noted to have issues with pass blocking!

dobber's picture

I agree.

This kind of signing makes sense, but he's no guarantee to make the 53. Right now, their Swiss army knife OL is McCray, and he may end up starting at RG. Then what? Bell's a cheap insurance policy that can cover several positions, and one they can cut if other returning players look capable.

Virtually no risk, reasonable reward.

Nononsense's picture

Love it, create competition and make everybody earn their spot. Bell gives us a decent LT backup at the very least and a very serviceable RT or RG should injuries linger or new injuries mount.

I am Gute is doing everything he can to put together a very competitive roster. Gone are the days of a hope and a prayer at thin positions. Hoping for some edge help next, go Gute.

DD's picture

Good signing. Beluga not expected to be ready really pisses me off. This is just not very good thinking by the GM. Keeping Beluga is now a waste of time and money. I like Beluga, but he's done.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Hope he can block hands out. The Cowboys and Panthers don't AFAIK.

cockblock's picture

Another Human Turnstile.

Packer Fan's picture

An odd thought here. Probably will get some dislikes from it. But sometimes the game passes by some coaches and top leaders. I think this happened to both Capers and TT. What worked for them 10 years ago or even 5 years ago don't work now. You have to change with the NFL because the game changes fast. New England has done a good job of adapting. Not so with the Packers. TT and Capers fell behind. And to some extent McCarthy too as his offense became to vanilla or predictable. But he is being given a chance to adapt this year. BG is giving him a good squad and MM himself has chosen some better coordinators. Let's hope this works out. For with Rodgers playing, the Pack will always have a chance.

cheesehead1's picture

I know nothing about him. Would like to hear from some diehard and honest Cowboy fans and their opinion of him.

dobber's picture

...because we have so many of them around here. ;)

Handsback's picture

Bell is a HEALTHY OT and therefore a valuable person for Green Bay to sign. Bulaga, Murphy, and Spriggs all have lingering injuries. Will one of them be ready for the season? Will one of them step-up and play immediately? Will one of them be able to back-up either OT positions?

I don't think they have positive answers for those three questions, so Bell is the answer for now. TC may prove that another player makes that step. I don't think it's any more complicated then that.

TruReligion Bethea's picture

Sign Mychal Kendricks to help the OLB group and Dumervil and I see Superbowl Championship this year. Our depth at key positions have been upgraded greatly.

PAPackerbacker's picture

With a history of injuries the Packers seem to get every year this is a solid addition to the OL. Whether a starter or a back up, his experience will prove invaluable as the season progresses and more injuries occur. I like the move to bring him to Green Bay. Makes perfect sense to add veteran depth to the OL. Go Pack Go

David Aures's picture

Love all the misspellings - Bulaga, Bulruga, Belega, Bulagra, Belega, and Boznia. I probably misspelled it too. Just funny.

dpwiener's picture

I think it's pretty obvious that Brian Bulaga will be put on PUP and be out for the first six games. If they try to rush his recovery in time for the beginning of the season, he's likely to re-injure himself, which benefits nobody. This way he can fully recover and build up his strength during the first half of the season. Meanwhile there are bound to be injuries on the offensive line -- there always are -- so having a fresh starter-quality player ready to jump in for the second half of the year will greatly benefit the line play and help keep Aaron safe.

dobber's picture

I think it will be a matter of where he is in his rehab when camp starts. He can come off the PUP list at any time prior to the start of the season and practice. Once season starts, he'd be gone 'til after the bye. I think he'll start camp on the PUP list, but wouldn't be surprised if he's off before the third preseason game if his rehab is progressing well.

PatrickGB's picture

I don’t see him as a tackle anymore. He is reported to be more of a mauler. Heavy feet. Not that there is anything wrong with that if he moves to guard. RT will remain a problem. Perhaps Lewis will spend a lot of time helping out there because our situation at RT is unsettled. Spriggs has the right body type but is unproven and coming off injury too.

james621lara's picture

Thanks Very good post. I certainly love this website. Keep writing!
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