Eagles cut Demetress Bell, sign Chris McCoy

Eagles cut Demetress Bell, sign Chris McCoy
February 6, 2013, 4:30 pm
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Talk about a no-brainer. Keep Demetress Bell and pay him $9.5 million in 2013 or release him with absolutely no cap hit.

On Wednesday, to the surprise of no one, the Eagles cut ties with Bell, releasing the fifth-year offensive tackle and signing former CFL defensive end-linebacker Chris McCoy.

Bell, signed by the Eagles on April 4 after perennial all-pro left tackle Jason Peters tore his Achilles, turned out to a big-money disaster in 2012. He was benched for King Dunlap after just one preseason game, and when forced to start while Dunlap was hurt, the Eagles went 0-5.

Bell’s original contract signed last spring was for $34,504,185 over five years but was structured so the Eagles could release him after the 2012 season without a cap hit.

Because the contract included roster bonuses and workout bonuses and no signing bonus, none of Bell’s future salary accelerates into a cap hit.

Had Bell played well and Peters been unable to return from his Achilles injury, the Eagles would have retained Bell’s rights at a salary competitive for starting left tackles.

In 2012, Bell earned $3.254185 million -- $1.15 million in base salary, a $2 million roster bonus and a $104,185 workout bonus.

He was due $1 million in base salary in 2013 with a $100,000 workout bonus but more importantly was on the books for an $8.5 million roster bonus, to be paid March 17.

Bell’s future base salaries were $9.5 million in 2013, $6 million in 2014, $7 million in 2015 and $8.35 million in 2016.

Bell's future cap numbers were $9.6 million in 2013, $6.1 million in 2014, $7.1 million in 2015 and $8.45 million in 2016.

So by releasing Bell, the Eagles technically saved $31.25 million over the next four years and cleared out $31.65 million in cap space.

It’s hard to believe now, but when Peters got hurt, Bell was the Eagles’ best option at left tackle. He had started 30 games from 2009 through 2011 with the Bills and played fairly well. But he struggled to grasp Howard Mudd’s blocking scheme and according to Pro Football Focus, which tracks these things, he was the fifth-worst offensive lineman in the NFL this past season.

Peters was one of only two offensive linemen to make every Pro Bowl from 2007 though 2011 – the first two years with the Bills, the last three with the Eagles.

He didn’t play at all last year, but a team source said his rehab from his two Achillies injuries is going very well, and he’s expected to be 100 percent healthy when the Eagles open the 2013 season in September.

McCoy, a seventh-round draft pick of the Dolphins in 2010, spent this past season with the CFL Calgary Stampeders. He had three sacks.

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