The Green Bay Packers have been one of the NFL’s most active franchises as they try to bounce back from a disappointing 2018 season, and this week they brought in veteran OL Byron Bell.
The offensive lineman arrives to a team that is aiming to step up on their 7-9 record of last year, and he is one of a number of new additions that fans will be studying carefully when they check out the NFL betting markets throughout this summer.
Bell should bring considerable experience to an offensive line that struggled badly in the last campaign. Their problems were underlined by the fact that the only ever-present on the offensive line was Corey Linsley. The addition of the former Panthers, Titans and Cowboys tackle will at the very least add depth to the roster, though the franchise had to release undrafted rookie offensive lineman Jacob Alsadek to accommodate him.
Based on his season at Dallas, the signing doesn’t look that inspiring. For the Cowboys in 2017-18, he played on 132 pass-protecting snaps and allowed 20 total pressures and four sacks. However, his figures were better during his previous spell at the Titans, where he allowed six sacks and 44 total pressures in a combined 617 snaps at tackle and guard. It may also be a promising sign that when he checked in for the Packers’ training camp, he weighed in at 310 pounds, compared to the 360 that he recorded for Dallas a year ago.
Bell’s NFL career began in 2011 when he joined the Panthers as an undrafted free agent. He managed 41 games as a right tackle during his first three seasons before becoming the starting left tackle when Jordan Gross retired in 2014. He moved to Tennessee for the 2015 season, where he played left and right tackle and left guard, before joining Dallas last season after a dislocated left ankle kept him out of action in 2016.
With 74 career starts to his name, Bell will be able to bring a degree of experience to the right of the Packers offensive line, and will add some solidity to a position struggling with injuries. Green Bay’s top three right tackles all finished up with serious injuries. Bryan Bulaga suffered a torn ACL, Jason Spriggs was struggling with a knee problem, and Kyle Murphy had to undergo foot surgery. Bulaga is still in rehab, while Spriggs is still some way away from full fitness.
On his own, Bell is unlikely to be the answer for the Packers, but he will definitely be able to add some experience and reliability to the Green Bay offensive line and could be a significant part of their recovery if they are to put the memory of a first losing season since 2008 behind them. Given their tough schedule this season, they will need him at his best.