Saints RB Joique Bell (Source:

New Orleans Saints release Joique Bell in exchange for Will Smith

Today the New Orleans Saints announced that they have waived runningback Joique Bell to clear room for the return of defensive end Will Smith, who was suspended for the first two games of the season for a violation of the leagues substance abuse policy stemming from a 2008 drug test (StarCaps, Bumetanide).

Bell became the teams leader in rushing (182) and receiving yards (139) in the preseason which landed him on the 53-man roster. He has been inactive the last two games, primarily because of the depth above him.

Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, and Darren Sproles are the teams primary rushers. Take into consideration that last seasons leading rusher Chris Ivory will return from the PUP list after week six, and Bell’s chances at staying on the active roster became slim to none.

New Orleans is probably hanging onto the hope he clears waivers and then can be added to the practice squad, but as is the case most times NFL teams keep a close eye on the waiver wire and someone is likely to snatch him after his preseason performance.

Smith is arguably among the teams best all around defensive players and his return is an immediate boost. In his absence Jeff Charleston and Junior Galette have filled in at right defensive end.

Galette has faired well as he is currently tied for 8th in the NFL in total sacks with 2.5.

In 2009 Smith notched a career high 13 sacks while helping the Saints achieve their first ever Superbowl championship.

Last season his production declined to 5.5 sacks but he is now slimmer, healthy, and completely injury free so hopes are high he can get back to Pro Bowl form.

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Tags: Chris Ivory Darren Sproles Joique Bell Mark Ingram New Orleans Saints NFL Pierre Thomas Will Smith

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