After having a short hiatus as the Bills were getting ready for free agency and the first week of free agency I return to you Bills fans. A lot has changed for the positive. Mario Williams shocked the league by choosing the Bills and Mark Anderson was short to follow his old Houston team mate. Kirk Morrison was re-signed to start at the outside linebacker position. Also Stevie Johnson and Bryan Scott have been extended. Everything looks good folks! Oh wait! The team still needs a left tackle! Or do they?
I have done my homework and read through some of the opinions of fans and seen message board posts. I have also seen that the Washington Redskins are still in talks with Bell’s agent. My friends, there is a reason Bell hasn’t signed yet. There is a very good reason and I would like to share it to the world and over thinkers alike. Bell hasn’t signed with a team yet because he hasn’t received an offer better than the one that the Bills have extended him!
Demetrius Bell is only 27 years old. He has lots of NFL starts at the Left Tackle position under his belt. D. Bell has shown that when healthy he is a above average left tackle in this league. All 3 of those points are true. Just one small, little, tiny problem. He doesn’t seem to stay healthy. Also he is not versatile. He is a left tackle. Sure you can move him to the right but do you invest money in a player who already has an injury knock against him and has never played that position at the NFL level before? No! Lets examine the 2 teams that were/are interested in Bell’s services and their current situation at left tackle.
In Arizona the Cardinals took a look at the free agent left tackle Bell only to decide that re-signing their guy Levi Brown and bringing him back for a team friendly deal contract was in their best interests. In fact the Cardinals took it a step further and chose to sign Adam Snyder a versatile guard and tackle over Bell as well. 2 factors lead to Arizona’s decision if i was a betting man. 1) contract demands and 2) the players injury history. They obviously were not willing to give Bell the big contract based on injury history. Kicking the tires on Bell got them Levi Brown back at a reasonable price though so kudos to Arizona. It also helped the Bills a bit. If the Cardinals had made Bell a better offer and better opportunity don’t you think he would be a Cardinal right now? Of course he would.
After the Arizona trip didn’t pan out Bell made a visit to our nations capital. In Washington they have a lock at left tackle in Trent Williams. he is a guy who they made a large investment in drafting in the top 10 two seasons ago and folks this was before a rookie wage scale was in place. On the right side the Skins have Jamal Brown a pro bowl player when he was in his prime and the recipient of an extension last off season. The Skins interest in Bell was as a safety crutch. Bell would be brought in to compete with Brown for the RIGHT tackle position (less money on the right side) and play left tackle if their was an injury to Williams on the left side. According to various reports dialog is ongoing with Bell’s agent and the Skins. Again Bills fans, If the Skins were offering a better deal or opportunity wouldn’t Bell have signed by now? Yes he would have!
Now lets look at this from Bell’s perspective and I am going to put myself in his shoes. If I am Demetrius Bell and I am thinking over my future I have a couple things in my mind. 1) If I sign a contract with the Skins I am not playing left tackle more than likely and I am not going to get paid starting tackle money. 2) if I get injured again I loose any chance of getting big money in free agency next year. Now since I am playing the role of Bell I have to think about the Bills offer. Sure the Bills are not offering me a huge bank roll (if they would have offered a large contract he would already have been signed) but I will go into camp as the number 1 LEFT tackle which is huge if I want my pay day and I am familiar with their staff. Football staff and medical staff. Also I have stated I want to be a Bill.
I don’t think this is a hard decision Bills fans. I do however think Bell needs to find whatever leverage he can to try to increase the offer Nix has said was extended to him. I have a feeling as long as Nix does not take the offer off the table to Bell and if Bell does re-sign with Buffalo we will all see an AMAZINGLY team friendly deal for a starting left tackle. At this point the Bill’s can hang the 10th pick in the draft over Bell’s agent and by Bell not getting a lot of interest the Bills can basically sit back and force Bell’s hand. They can say take it or leave it at any time to there offer or they can just pull the offer all together. Since i am a betting man i have a feeling Bell will be back with Buffalo on a 2 year team friendly contract that includes injury clauses which can help Bell earn more and also let the team walk free and clear if health remains an issue.