Friday, March 30, 2012
Steelers host first free agent of the year
By Jamison Hensley
The Pittsburgh Steelers are no longer quiet in free agency.
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Steelers had their first free-agent visit of the year today, bringing in Bills offensive tackle Demetrius Bell.
He is the best offensive lineman available in what began as a weak free-agent market for tackles. Bell, 27, is an intriguing talent who has played parts of the past two seasons at left tackle.
Drafted in the seventh round by the Bills in 2008, Bell had struggled for the most part before last season. He only started six games in 2011 for the Bills, but those were perhaps his best games with the team. In seven games last season, he only allowed a half of sack and didn't commit a penalty.
There's no guarantees that Bell will continue to play at such a high level, but this could potentially be a strong first move by the Steelers. Pittsburgh is the only team in the AFC North not to sign anyone in free agency, which began 17 days ago.
The Steelers have a connection to Bell. Offensive line coach Sean Kugler spent two seasons working with Bell before leaving Buffalo for Pittsburgh.
Adding an offensive tackle isn't a necessity, but it would bolster the position. Right now, the Steelers are looking to move Marcus Gilbert from right to left tackle, and start Willie Colon on the right side. Colon has played in one game the past two seasons because of injuries, and Jonathan Scott is the top backup.