5:53pm: A team source confirmed to Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer that Bell won’t return in 2015.
5:07pm: Panthers tackle Byron Bell took to Instagram on Monday to announce that he won’t be returning to Carolina, according to David Newton of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Bell’s Instagram is private, but Panthers blog Catscratch Reader has a screenshot of the post.
Bell, 26, first joined the Panthers as an undrafted free agent out of New Mexico on 2011. The Texas native went on to become a staple on the Panthers’ offensive line over the next four years, appearing in 62 games and making 56 starts.
This past season, Bell lined up at left tackle and the results were not pretty. Bell graded out as the second worst qualified offensive tackle in football with a -33.4 overall rating, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required and recommended). Only Jake Matthews of the Falcons (-36.8) finished lower. Bell just completed a one-year, $2.187MM deal with the Panthers and he might have to take a little less on his next contract.