Offensive tackle Byron Bell has signed his restricted free agent tenure with the Carolina Panthers according to multiple sources. The contract is worth $2.78 million in 2014 and it is a second rounder. This means other teams are free to sign Byron Bell to offer sheets, but if after a week the Panthers don’t match, the team that signs Bell will send Carolina a second round pick. Due to his less-than-stellar play in 2013, it seems pretty safe to say he’ll stay in Charlotte.
Bell started at right tackle in 2013, but will move over to the left side this season in the wake of Jordan Gross’ retirement. While left tackle is often thought of as a more important and difficult position, Bell should be a better fit protecting Cam Newton’s blindside. As Dave Gettleman has pointed out, he’s naturally left handed and played left tackle in college. He also was a much better pass protector than run blocker last year, which is ideal for a left tackle versus a road grater is what you want on the right side.
Here’s a piece outlining what switching Bell to left tackle does to the Panthers’ draft plans.