The Philadelphia Eagles have announced that they've agreed to a five-year deal with free agent offensive tackle Demetrius Bell. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Enquirer had the news first. Financial terms have not been disclosed.
Bell started 30 games for the Buffalo Bills at left tackle over the last three seasons. The oft-injured Bell was placed on injured reserve in two of his three seasons as a starter after being selected in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He sat his first year while adjusting to the NFL, then took over the job when Jason Peters was traded to the Eagles. Bell will replace Peters once again, as Peters tore his Achilles tendon last week which required surgery, possibly ending his 2012 season before it begins.
Bell had a contract offer from the Bills, according to Buddy Nix, and visited the Arizona Cardinals, Washington Redskins, and Pittsburgh Steelers since the start of free agency. There were also reports that the Green Bay Packers reached out to Bell.
In the announcement, the Eagles also noted that Bell is changing the spelling of his first name to "Demetress" - apparently, it's been misspelled since he was drafted.
"Demetress is a guy we’ve followed since he joined the league," Eagles GM Howie Roseman said in a statement. "He’s a big, athletic left tackle and he has quite a few games of experience under his belt with Buffalo. He’ll excel with our style of play on the offensive line."
"Demetress was one of the top free agent offensive linemen available this year and and we are happy to be able to add him to our squad," added Eagles head coach Andy Reid. "We had a chance to meet him over the weekend and study him extensively on tape and we came away quite impressed with what we saw and heard. He’s a great athlete.”
Bell is the second Bills free agent to sign with another team in as many days. Wide receiver Roscoe Parrish signed with the San Diego Chargers yesterday.