Arizona Cardinals free agent strong safety Yeremiah Bell has been a fixture in this league for quite some time, as he is well-regarded for his intangibles and hard-hitting play at strong safety. In the prime of his career, Bell was one of the best strong safeties in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins, as he did an excellent job of defending receivers over the middle and making big stops in the running game. He had four seasons with over 100 tackles, and he was an important voice in the Dolphins locker room (I’m assuming they weren’t dysfunctional in the locker room at the time).
Anyway, Bell spent the 2013 season with the Cardinals, and he had a strong year on the team’s revamped safety corps. Still going strong at the age of 36, Bell was decent in coverage and also managed to record 76 tackles and ten passes defended in the process. In his prime, Bell was praised often for being a well-rounded player, as he could cover, play the run, and blitz at a high level. Although he can’t play at a high level any more, he’s still decent in coverage, solid in run defense, and can chip in on safety blitzes.
FOX Sports’s Mike Jurecki reports that the Cardinals have offered Bell a one-year deal to stay with the team, but Jurecki adds that Bell will likely call it quits after a strong 2013 campaign. At this age, it’s probably best for Bell to hang them up and go out after playing well, and his retirement would clear the way for sleeper second-year pro Tony Jefferson to start next to Tyrann Mathieu, who was a stud as a rookie. Jefferson has always been a favorite of mine, and I thought he played well when given the chance last year.