Packers' offensive line gets deeper with Byron Bell addition

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Add Byron Bell to the mix of potential starters at right tackle for the Green Bay Packers.

The veteran offensive lineman posted on Instagram that he's signing with the Packers, where he could jump to the front of the line as a place holder until No. 1 right tackle Bryan Bulaga is recovered from last year's ACL surgery.

It might be a stretch to think Bulaga could be ready for the Sept. 9 opener against the Bears, and Bell could be the best option. Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst did not sign a tackle during the initial wave of free agency, and he waited until the fifth round to draft an offensive lineman -- Cole Madison, a college tackle whose long-term NFL position likely is guard.

At least week's OTA practice, the first and only that has been open for viewing, the Packers used Jason Spriggs as the No. 1 right tackle. Spriggs, a former second-round pick, has been battled inconsistency and injuries. He finished last season on injured reserve because of a dislocated kneecap. Another right tackle option, Kyle Murphy, also finished last year on injured reserve because of a broken foot.

Bell, 29, started two games last season for the Cowboys, who signed him to a one-year, $2 million deal. That followed one year with the Titans, where he started all 16 games. Previously, he was a four-year starter at right tackle for the Panthers, who signed him as an undrafted free agent. He has a total of 74 career starts.

He is the second veteran that Gutekunst has signed this month, when free-agent acquisitions no longer count against the compensatory draft pick formula. Previously, he signed tight end Marcedes Lewis to address another position he passed on in the draft.

Bulaga's future with the Packers seemed in doubt earlier this offseason because of his injury history (it's his second ACL tear) and his contract (he's scheduled to make $6.75 million this and has two years left on a five-year, $33.75 million deal). But after the Gutekunst did not directly address the tackle spot this offseason, the Packers said they're committed to Bulaga's return even if it's not for the start of the season.