With Jason Peters heading for the operating room to fix his ruptured Achilles tendon, the Philadelphia Eagles are already making moves to find a replacement. It’s not a given fact that the 30-year-old tackle won’t be ready for the start of the regular season (although it’s very likely), but Philadelphia must add its insurance policy.
Demetrius Bell (6’5”, 307 pounds) is the guy that replaced Jason Peters in Buffalo when he was traded to the Eagles in 2009.
Jeff McLane reported that Bell has started 30 games at left tackle over the last three seasons and the Eagles have him lined up for a visit this weekend. However, Bell is currently with the Pittsburgh Steelers and they might offer him a contract before his visit with the Eagles.
The question is whether Bell can equally replace Peters. The Eagles' offensive line performed at a high level last year—especially after the first half of the season—and the last thing the team wants is new struggles on the line.
Peters is one of the best, if not the best left tackle in the league. Whoever takes his place will have to exceed expectations and expand his level of performance.
Bell is a player of great quality and can do a great job protecting his quarterback, but he will have to work hard to reach Peters’ level. The most important thing is his chemistry with the rest of Philly’s offensive linemen—if they can’t work as a team, there will be a lot of problems.
Chemistry, however, is always an unknown aspect of every acquisition. If teams focused on that, very few trades and free-agent signings would materialize. The Eagles need to focus on Bell’s skills and potential; I believe he is the right candidate for the job, as far as free agency goes.
Adding Bell will be the right move to steady the ship, after being hit by an enormous wave—like Peters’ injury was to the Eagles’ 2012 aspirations.