Report: Bengals sign Bell; Move spices guard jockeying

Posted Apr 6, 2012

Jacob Bell

With the addition of Rams veteran left guard Jacob Bell the Bengals have added interior depth to the offensive line with another guy hefting about 100 NFL starts.

According to multiple reports that include the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Bengals have agreed to a one-year deal with Bell as he heads into his eighth season out of Miami University with most of his 100 NFL starts at left guard.

Last month the Bengals signed Panthers left guard and left tackle Travelle Wharton, whose next start is going to be his 100th, and that figures to come Opening Day in place of Nate Livings at left guard but head coach Marvin Lewis won't update his depth chart until training camp.

The 6-5, 300-pound Bell would appear to join youngsters Clint Boling and Otis Hudson in the mix to start at right guard in the derby to replace Bobbie Williams or back up both guard spots.

Bell is known as an athletic sort who is comfortable enough on the right side that when the Rams took a bunch of injuries on the line they mulled putting him at right tackle. The Titans, who drafted Bell in the fifth round in 2004, thought enough of his versatility to consider him at center in a pinch.

There are also indications the Bengals could be close to re-signing backup right tackle Dennis Roland.

The Bell move offers more indications the Bengals are still keeping a wary eye on Williams's rehab off ankle surgery and aren't prepared yet to re-sign the man that has been their starting right guard in 118 of the 128 games that have been played since he signed as a free agent in 2004.

Boling, a fourth-round pick out of Georgia in 2011, started the first three games of his rookie year before veteran Mike McGlynn took his place backing up Williams. McGlynn signed last month with the Colts, leaving Boling No. 1 on the depth chart at right guard.

Hudson, a fifth-round pick out of Eastern Illinois in 2010, has yet to appear in a game. His promising 2011 training camp (when line coach Paul Alexander said Hudson and right tackle Andre Smith were his two most improved players) was cut short with a knee injury that kept him sidelined for the first couple of weeks of the season.


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