When the Eagles lost left tackle Jason Peters, presumably for the season, with a torn Achilles in March, they immediately went out and signed Demetress Bell, formerly Demetrius Bell of the Buffalo Bills. They took a risk by signing Bell to a 5 year, 34.5 million dollar deal, but only 3.25 million of that, his 2012 salary, was guaranteed and they got that money by taking it from Jason Peters, who was in violation of his contract when he injured himself. Bell, however, has only played more than 8 games once in his 4 year career.
Bell played very well when healthy for the Bills last year, as the 2008 7th round pick allowed just 1 sack, 1 quarterback hits, and 7 quarterback pressures, while not committing a penalty in essentially 6 starts protecting the blindside of Ryan Fitzpatrick. However, despite his big guaranteed salary for the 2012 season and his strong play last season, it appears that Bell has lost the starting left tackle job to King Dunlap in Philadelphia. Dunlap has been working with the 1st team all throughout Training Camp and the preseason and probably will start there week 1, as reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer.
It’s definitely a head scratching move, but the Eagles made it clear earlier this offseason that Bell was being brought in to compete with former Peters backup Dunlap for Peters’ old job and he seems to have lost. Maybe he wasn’t a good fit for Howard Mudd’s scheme. Maybe he’s not fully healthy. Maybe Dunlap just impressed and beat him out. I don’t know. What I do know is that Dunlap is inexperienced as the 2008 7th round pick has started just 7 career games (3 at left tackle, 3 at right tackle, and 1 at left guard), though he hasn’t played badly.
The Eagles will obviously be hoping that continues. Left tackle might not be the blindside for Michael Vick, a left handed quarterback, but it is for backup Nick Foles, who figures to see a few starts this season because of how injury prone Vick is. They’ll need good play from that spot, but I trust Howard Mudd to coach him up and he definitely had something to do with the decision for Dunlap to start. As for Bell, he’ll almost definitely be one and done with the Eagles. He won’t see his 9.5 million dollar salary in 2013. He likely wouldn’t have seen it either way, unless Peters couldn’t bounce back, but this pretty much seals it.
If you’re interested in doing a fantasy football league with me, here’s the link (no draft date set yet, currently standard, with the option to become PPR with group vote). http://msn.foxsports.com/fantasy/football/commissioner/Registration/Private.aspx?league=55086&password=FanSpot2