This was strictly a financial move for the Dolphins. The Sun-Sentinel reports it will save $4.3 million in cap room. The Dolphins may try to re-sign Bell at a cheaper price, but they would have to outbid other suitors as an unrestricted free agent.
On the field, Bell was one of the team's most consistent defenders and led the Dolphins last season with 107 tackles. He also was key to keeping Miami's locker room together, despite a rough 0-7 start.
The move leaves Miami thin at safety. Last week the team signed versatile cornerback Richard Marshall, who made the move to safety for the first time last season with the Arizona Cardinals. It appears more certain Marshall will play safety for Miami if Bell doesn't return.
The free-agent crop of safeties has dried up, so Miami may look to add help in the draft. Perhaps Alabama's Mark Barron now is in play with the No. 8 overall pick. Currently, Miami's starting secondary consists of cornerbacks Sean Smith and Vontae Davis teaming with safety Reshad Jones and possibly Marshall.