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RB Bell to Visit Eagles Tuesday


Veteran Running Back Bell Visiting Eagles
By Lance Epstein

Although the Eagles feel that the young and promising LeSean "Shady" McCoy is the future at running back for the Eagles and expect him to carry a bulk of the carries next year, they still need a veteran backup halfback now that Brian Westbrook has been released.

According to Adam Caplan of Scouts.com, the Eagles will host running back Mike Bell tomorrow at the NovaCare Center. Caplan tweeted on his twitter page that an NFL source told him the free-agent running back is scheduled to be in Philadelphia on Tuesday. Since Caplan broke the news of Bell's visit, ESPN's Adam Schefter has confirmed the report.

Bell is a restricted free agent that was slapped the lowest tender of the "right to refusal" by the New Orleans Saints. The "right to refusal" means that the Eagles will not have to give up any compensation if Bell agrees to a contract. However, the Saints will have seven days to match the offer sheet the Eagles and Bell agree to.

Currently, McCoy and Weaver are the only running backs (Weaver can play both running back and fullback) that are a guarantee a spot on the roster next year.

Former San Diego Charger practice squad player, Eldra Buckley, made the roster this past season as the third running back but was not overly impressive in his limited role. Earlier this offseason the Eagles picked up the Canadian Football League's Rookie of the Year, Martell Mallett and fullback Dwayne Wright. Although, none of the three backs are a lock to make the team nor have the skill set and experience like Bell.


Bell is entering his fifth NFL season after signing with the Denver Broncos as a undrafted free-agent tailback out of the University of Arizona. The 26-year-olf Bell (6-0, 225) is a physical, in between-the-tackles runner that the Eagles sorely lack.

Even though Bell has played in the league for four years, his 2007 and 2008 seasons kept him fresh as he only tallied a combined 19 carries. His best season was his rookie year (2006) with the Broncos where he scored eight rushing touchdowns, piled up 677 yards rushing yards and 158 receiving yards.

This past season he played in 13 games with the Saints and accumulated 654 yards on the ground along with five rushing touchdowns.

While the draft has a ton of intriguing young prospects at the position, the Eagles desperately need a veteran running back incase McCoy struggles in pass protection like last season. Furthermore, Bell is still young and has plenty of tread left on the tires considering in four years he has only carried the rock 348 times.

Bell gives the Eagles some much needed depth behind McCoy and a backup that can be a starter if required. Signing Bell makes a ton of sense for the Eagles. It allows the Eagles to focus squarely on the defense with their plethora of early round picks in the upcoming draft and not use a high pick on a running back.

Last week, the Eagles invited free agent running back Justin Fargas for a visit but did not sign him. Bell is definitely an upgrade over Fargas due to age, less carries and more explosiveness. For the Eagles, Bell would be a good buy this late in free agency and might pay big dividends on third and short where they have consistently struggled.

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