Giants sign ex-Lions defender Bell

Updated: April 15, 2007, 4:24 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

The New York Giants have beefed up the depth on their defensive line, signing unrestricted free agent tackle Marcus Bell, a six-year veteran, to a one-year contract.

Marcus Bell
Bell

Coming off the most productive season of his career, Bell, 28, is expected to challenge for a role in the Giants' regular tackle rotation. Although he is more of a nose tackle, Bell has played at both tackle spots during his NFL tenure, and will add experience and versatility to the New York defensive line.

With the Detroit Lions in 2006, Bell started seven games at nose tackle after Shaun Rogers was lost to an injury, and registered a career-best 39 tackles. His season ended prematurely when he broke his hand, but the injury has healed and Bell should be ready to participate in the Giants' offseason program.

A former fourth-round draft choice, Bell spent the first three seasons of his career with the Arizona Cardinals and then signed with Detroit as a free agent in 2004. The former Memphis standout, who has demonstrated an ability to anchor against the run, has played in 86 games and started 21 times, and has 165 tackles, 6 sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries for his career.

New York also added another former Memphis standout, signing defensive back Michael Stone to a one-year contract.

A six-year veteran, the journeyman Stone has played mostly as a special teams performer in stints with Arizona (2001-2004), New England (2005) and Houston (2006). Stone has 104 career tackles from scrimmage and 100-plus tackles on special teams. His best season was in 2005, when he notched 46 tackles for the Patriots.

Financial details of the contracts signed by Bell and Stone were not available, but the deals are believed to be in the league minimum base salary range.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.