Yeremiah Bell is the best safety left on the free agent market and now the 34-year-old former Pro Bowler is starting to narrow his options. Bell is now down to four teams and according to agent Drew Rosenhaus, he will sign with one of them within the next 24 hours.
Bell has narrowed his choices to the Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles.
The Titans make a lot of sense for Bell, who is a strong safety but could play either spot in a pinch. Tennessee's returning safeties are Jordan Babineaux and Michael Griffin. Griffin was given the franchise tag, and there is no guarantee the two sides will work out a long-term deal. He has yet to sign his franchise tender and could end up holding out.
As for Babineaux, he vastly exceeded expectations in 2011 and was re-signed to a two-year, $5 million contract. Still, there is no guarantee he will repeat his success in 2012, and having a veteran like Bell on the roster pushing him could only benefit the team.
The Eagles are another team that would make sense for Bell. But apparently Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer was told by a source that they didn't sign the veteran during his visit because they believe he's "done."
That might be a foolish move by the Eagles since their safety depth is not exactly stellar. They finished the regular season with Nate Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett at the back of their secondary. The Eagles didn't add to their safety rotation this off-season and bringing in Bell on a cheap, incentive-laden deal would seem like a wise move.
The Chiefs already have Eric Berry, Kendrick Lewis and Donald Washington at safety, so Bell would be no more than an insurance policy for them. He has had more than 100 tackles in each of the past four seasons though and could add some experience to a very young secondary.
The New York Jets are also a squad that would appear set at safety with LaRon Landry and rookie Antonio Allen added this off-season. Both guys could man starting spots for Gang Green right now, so Bell would seem like an extra piece.
That said, if anyone knows what the former Miami Dolphin can do, it would be his division rivals in New York. I could see Rex Ryan pushing hard for Bell to add some leadership to the safety group.
I think in the end Bell winds up with the Titans; the spot just makes too much sense for him. But don't be surprised if the Jets make a hard push for him.