The Eagles have announced that running back Mike Bell, a restricted free agent from New Orleans, has signed the Eagles' offer sheet. New Orleans now can either match the offer sheet -- terms of which were not disclosed -- within the next seven days and retain Bell, or choose not to match the offer, in which case Bell will become an Eagle.
Bell, who arrived at the NovaCare Complex on Tuesday, meets the media Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.
The Eagles clearly see the young veteran as a good complement to LeSean McCoy in the offensive backfield. Bell started off the 2009 season with back-to-back big games against Detroit and the Eagles and then suffered a knee injury and missed some playing time and never matched his early-season production. Should Bell become an Eagle, the Saints would receive no compensation from Philadelphia.
In 2009, the 26-year-old Bell (6-0, 225) led the Super Bowl Champion Saints with 172 carries and contributed 654 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Originally signed as an undrafted free agent by Denver in 2006, Bell rushed for 677 yards and eight touchdowns in 15 games in his inaugural campaign with the Broncos. That year, he became the fifth undrafted rookie to gain 500-plus rushing yards since the inception of the common NFL Draft (1967), and his eight touchdowns were the second-most among undrafted rookies during that span.
A veteran of four NFL seasons, Bell has compiled 1,376 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns in 37 career games with New Orleans and Denver. After spending his first two years with the Broncos, Bell was released by the team on 7/21/08. He made a brief stop in Houston during their 2008 training camp but was released prior to the start of the regular season. He has spent the last year and a half with the Saints after signing with the team in November of 2008.
Bell played collegiately at the University of Arizona, where he rushed for 3,163 yards and 17 touchdowns, while amassing 11 100-yard rushing games. He finished his career ranked fourth on the program's all-time rushing list.
A native of Phoenix, AZ, Bell was named Arizona's player of the year and earned consensus All-America honors as a senior at Tolleson Union High School in Tolleson, AZ.
In the other big news on Tuesday, the Eagles acquired defensive end Darryl Tapp in a trade with Seattle, sending defensive end Chris Clemons and a fourth-round draft pick in April to the Seahawks. There are indications that the Eagles and Tapp have agreed to terms on a three-year contract, pending a physical that Tapp will take on Thursday.
-- Posted by Dave Spadaro, 9:02 p.m., March 15