As we continue on through our new free agency series, let's update the poll results from yesterday. As you know, we are looking at offensive tackles right now and the first one we examined was lifelong Detroit Lion, Jeff Backus. 60% of you felt that Backus could be a good stopgap at the left tackle position, assuming the team doesn't draft a young prospect. Although he is 34 years old, Backus is incredibly durable, smart and I think he still has something to give at the position.
Now on to the second of our five left tackles. Demetrius Bell was drafted in the seventh round by the Buffalo Bills in 2008 and by 2009, he had already become their starting left tackle. Now he is set to hit free agency and it looks like the Bills might be willing to let him go. Should the Arizona Cardinals go and get him? Let's find out after the jump.
Bell took over the job as starting left tackle from week one in 2009, but he has had problems staying on the field. Most recently, Bell was forced to go under the knife for knee surgery. In fact, only once in his four years in the league has he been on the field for more than eight games. His injury history will seriously have teams questioning whether or not they want to chase him once he hits the market.
Bell only played in seven games in 2011, but while he was on the field, he appeared to be one of the better left tackles in the league. Protecting Ryan Fitzpatrick is no easy task, but Bell appeared to live up to the job. He allowed just one sack in his 252 pass blocking snaps taken, according to Pro Football Focus. He never recorded a penalty either, which is a far cry from what we can say about Levi Brown.
Bills general manager Buddy Nix recently came out and said that the team will be looking to select a tackle in the upcoming NFL Draft, but Bell says that he would like to return to Buffalo. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen, but my guess would be that the Bills let him test the water a little bit. If the offer isn't too great, they may choose to match it, leaving Bell with a decision to make.
Should the Cardinals pursue the 27 year old pass protector? The injuries do concern me a bit (he's basically the opposite of Jeff Backus), but his strong play while he is on the field make him an intriguing character. For me, the contract would have to be heavily incentive based and the money would have to be right. I believe he would be a significant upgrade over anyone on the Cardinals roster right now, so the team (if they don't draft someone) may choose to look into bringing Bell on.
What do you think? Should the Arizona Cardinals try and sign Demetrius Bell? Leave your comments below and don't forget to vote in the poll!