1 – @ChrisBrownBills Why did it take Rex so long to compromise his own defensive philosophy to fit the players?
CB: In fairness to Rex Ryan, he recognized how married some of the players were to the previous scheme and tried to incorporate some of those concepts from last year into his scheme. By midseason he realized that wasn’t working and scrapped it to have the players focus only on his scheme.
Unfortunately there were players who refused to buy in, and Ryan’s scheme, or any other for that matter, doesn’t work unless all 11 players execute their assignments. Preston Brown addressed that when I asked him a few questions about it after the Washington game.
“Guys have got to buy into the system, especially on the defensive side,” said Brown. “We don’t really know how good we could’ve been because everybody wasn’t doing what they were supposed to do on each play. We can’t say it was the scheme or everybody is not playing with effort. Mentally everybody wasn’t there.
“We have to understand that everybody has to be working as one and we haven’t done that this year. Everybody has been kind of doing their own agenda on our side of the ball. So it’s something that we need to get covered and handle these last couple of games and years down the road.”
When I asked Preston why the defense had players being selfish and doing their own thing this was his response.
“I’m not sure. Everybody keeps saying last year we were a top four defense and everybody was still thinking about last year. We’ve got to get over that,” said Brown. “It’s not last year and guys were still thinking, ‘Oh we did this last year.’ Well we’re not doing that this year. So we’ve got to understand that we’re doing a different scheme and a different system and it works if everybody does it the right way.”
Complete buy in by the defensive players didn’t happen until the last two weeks of the season according to the players I spoke with and we saw good results over the final two games. So when the players tell me and media members that Rex is not at fault with what happened to the defense and that it’s on the players, I take them at their word.
For the record Rex tried to appeal to the players in different ways to get full buy-in knowing it wasn’t there. I wrote about that this week. But the bottom line, as Sammy Watkins said, is it’s on the players to take control of how players prepare, practice and play on game days. And if someone is being selfish or slacking they need to be called out by teammates.
That’s why Watkins and Brown stepped forward as leaders late this season. They don’t want to see what happened to their defense because of a couple of selfish players happen again.
2 – Chris,
I’m still trying to make sense of this season, as results have been significantly below expectations. There have been too many games where the team has been unprepared, undisciplined, and let games get away from them that they should have won.
Why move up in the draft and give up so much in 1st round draft picks to select Sammy Watkins and not find a way to incorporate him more into the offense. Other WRs Calvin Johnson, Beckham, Antonio Brown defenses focus on, and yet their Offense still get them the ball. Why do they mainly use Sammy for only deep passes or screens that never seem to work. How about running Sammy across the field like Andre Reed always did or the way the Patriots utilize Edelman and just have the QB lead him on a pass as he runs a short crossing route and then takes off?
CB: The main reason why Watkins wasn’t made more of a focal point of the offense was two-fold. First, Buffalo was committed to being a run-first attack. Second, offensive coordinator Greg Roman has said they wanted to bring Tyrod Taylor along steadily to see how much he could capably handle on a week to week basis. They were trying to help him progress while limiting setbacks and gradually gave him more rope as the season wore on.
Once they felt comfortable that Taylor could handle more you saw the deep passing game flourish. Since the bye week only two other receivers had more yardage than Watkins 900 in the last nine games. They were Antonio Brown and Julio Jones. For a first-year offense with a first-year quarterback you have to walk before you can run, and rely on the run before you rely more on the pass
Under Roman’s guidance the Bills did that. It probably would’ve been effective enough to reach the postseason had the defense not taken a step back. I think moving forward Watkins will continue to be a dominant weapon as the rapport between him and Taylor continues to develop.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills how long of contract terms are Glenn and Richie looking at receiving and possibly getting?
CB: Glenn is the one who will be cashing in with a long-term deal. At age 26 he’s entering the prime of his career, so a long term deal would make sense and he plays at a position that commands more pay in terms of average salary. Incognito is 32-years old, so I’d be surprised to see anything more than a three-year contract. Probably a two-year deal with a team option for a third.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills Given that releasing EJ Manuel would save no money & leave the team with dead money, can you see any upside to releasing him?
CB: The question here with EJ Manuel is can you do better at backup quarterback than EJ? If the front office feels the answer is yes, Manuel’s dead money on the cap of a little over $2.8M is not crippling with the cap likely to be up around $153M for 2016.
So when money doesn’t impact the decision GM Doug Whaley largely lets the performance on the field determine make the call.
It’s my belief that the Bills will add a backup quarterback prospect from the draft. Someone they feel they can develop behind Tyrod Taylor. Is it likely such a prospect would be more NFL ready than Manuel? No.
So it’s possible they keep Manuel on the roster until they see more of whatever quarterback they draft or add looks in their offense. But it wouldn’t shock me if the organization decides to turn the page.
CB: Taking a more in depth look at things with some help from the front office as to who qualifies as a free agent addition and a free agent loss (the rules are endless) the Bills may be entitled to one compensatory pick this year.
The Bills added – Alex Carrington, Jerome Felton and Tyrod Taylor (Charles Clay – transition player???)
The Bills lost – Erik Pears, Da’Norris Searcy, Lee Smith and C.J. Spiller
Harvin and Incognito were not unrestricted free agents because they had contracts that were terminated. And Clay will be argued by the Bills as someone who should not count because he was a transition player. We’ll see if the league disagrees because there is precedent with transition players counting toward the free agent add count, but if not the Bills should get one compensatory pick this year.
Tags: compensatory picks, Cordy Glenn, EJ Manuel, Fan Friday, Rex Ryan, Richie Incognito, Sammy Watkins
Posted in Inside the Bills
1 – Chris,
Thanks for all you do to keep Bills fans informed.
The perception in Tennessee seems to be that Andy Levitre has not lived up to his contract. If he gets released, do you see any chance of him coming back to Buffalo? Do you think that would be a good move at this point for the Bills?
CB: I wouldn’t rule it out, but I believe it’s unlikely. Levitre is still young enough to command a pretty sizable contract so were he to be released I think he’d still cost a hefty amount. And with Buffalo’s limited cap space now I don’t know that he’d fit from a fiscal standpoint.
2 – Hey Chris ,
WOW ! I can see this McCoy trade blowing up in the Bills face! Personally I think Whaley has made a HUGE mistake! He GAVE away a star in the making not to mention with the contracts of Hughes this year, Dareus & Gilmore next year & others he has screwed up the amount of the cap that he will have to work with & who he will be able to keep beyond next year.
Not to mention that if CJ had any thoughts of working with the team by seeing what he was worth as a FA & coming to the Bills & asking what kind of deal they could give that is gone because they instead of doing what they said trying to bring back their draft picks totally alienated CJ!
It was once said that they meaning the Bills were going to build through the draft & wanted to keep their own. Building through the draft is much more cost effective! If there was any chance of them picking up say Gurley that is probably gone to with the Shady deal. If they would have offers CJ $8 Mil a year he probably would have taken the deal & saved them cap space .
I really hope this pans out but I think it will back fire & make us look like what the rest of the league already thinks of us, a laughing stock
Mr. T from Fort Myers via Nashville
CB: I’m going to have to disagree with you on this one. Yes, there is no question the Bills gave up a good, young player in Kiko Alonso, but when you have the opportunity to land one of the top three running backs in the league who is just entering his prime and you’re coming off a season in which you finished 25th in the league in rushing you pull the trigger.
Buffalo had the fourth-best defense in the league last year without Kiko Alonso on the field. Alonso is coming off his second career ACL and also had shoulder surgery last year. I’m not saying he can’t come back from that, but that’s a lot of wear and tear on a 25-year old body.
To compare McCoy and Spiller is apples and oranges. McCoy can run inside and outside and handle a heavy workload. As much as I respect C.J.’s game history tells us a heavy workload more likely leads to injury for him.
The cap concerns you have were alleviated with McCoy re-doing his deal, which contained an extension to spread his money out more.
Concerning your comment on building through the draft, the Bills aren’t deviating from the philosophy. This was an offer that was presented to them out of the blue. When you have an opportunity like the Bills did to land McCoy you take it no matter what your philosophy is as to how to build your team.
With all due respect I think you need to put a little more faith in Doug Whaley as a GM.
3 – Chris,
With Kiko gone, who fills his spot inside? I think he would have been valuable and isn’t easily replaceable as people think due to the fact that he is a 3 down linebacker who can drop into coverage. Will they bring back Spikes?
CB: Spikes does remain an available option, but I think the Bills are only willing to re-sign him at their price. Buffalo has two capable three down linebackers in Nigel Bradham and Preston Brown. I expect the Bills to draft a linebacker in the middle rounds to build their depth and would expect them to look for an athletic backer. Manny Lawson probably moves back to more of a SAM linebacker role in Dennis Thurman’s defense so that brings another veteran to the LB corps.
4 – Chris,
How do compensatory picks work? I know generally that if a team loses more free agents than it signs, they get awarded pick(s). But how do you have a team if you’ve lost more players than you have received? I don’t get it.
As a follow up, this has been an interesting offseason so far. Do you see the Bills optimizing to try to acquire compensatory picks?
Len in NYC
CB: The basics of determining compensatory picks begins with a net loss of free agents as you mentioned, but there is a myriad of particulars as to what free agent signings count and what ones do not. For example if a free agent is signed after June 1st (now May 12th per reports) it doesn’t count toward your plus-minus free agent total. There are several other stipulations that govern the final total that’s too much to get into here.
Baltimore is one of those clubs that has turned acquiring compensatory picks into an art form. Very often they wait to sign free agents until after June 1st (now May 12th) so they don’t count toward their total and they’re routinely among the clubs getting the most compensatory picks the next year for their free agent losses.
As for the Bills, the acquisition of Clay (who from what I’ve been told will count), Harvin and Felton have Buffalo ahead of the game with Pears, Spiller, Searcy and Lee Smith signing elsewhere. So I’ve got the Bills at minus one. We’ll see how it all shakes out next March.
5 – Chris,
A question on free agency. If an agent is dealing with team “A” and team “B” and say one team comes in higher than another, but the player prefers playing for the team with lower bid who has the final say. Does the agent have the right to say I’m working for you to get the highest salary possible? Is the player bound to sign the best offer? With Josh McCown signing with the Browns, was the three-year deal probably the factor? It seems in the past for a veteran type backup two-year deals were the going rate .
Thanks for keeping us fans in the know, your the best.
CB: Thanks for the kind words. Per your question the answer is no. Players hire the agent, not the other way around. So players determine ultimately who they want to play for. Now agents will sometimes try to steer or convince players to take the offer with more money, and in many cases they do. Some players do forget to think for themselves and do what they want and blindly follow their agent’s recommendation. But most know it’s their career and their decision.
Concerning McCown my understanding is Cleveland was willing to pay McCown a lot more than the Bills were willing to offer, so it was more about the total committed dollars than the length of the contract.
Tags: Andy Levitre, Brandon Spikes, compensatory picks, Doug Whaley, Fan Friday, Kiko Alonso, LeSean McCoy, NFL free agency
Posted in Inside the Bills
The formerly infamous date on the NFL calendar for veteran players with fat cap numbers and a role on their team not commensurate with that financial figure is no more. The June 1st free agency deadline has been moved.
That according to ProFootballTalk, which is reporting the deadline has been moved up to May 12th. June 1st used to be the date where after it came and went NFL clubs would cut veteran players that they no longer wanted who had multiple years left on their contract. Teams could cut the player after June 1st and not absorb the full amortization of the contract in the current year, instead pushing it to the next fiscal year.
The date lost its punch when the NFL allowed teams to cut up to two players prior to June 1st, yet still designate them as post-June 1st cuts to move their cap hits into the next year.
The only real significance left to the date is if free agents are signed after June 1st they don’t factor into determining whether a team had a net loss of free agents which is the primary criteria to qualify clubs for compensatory picks. Now that date will be May 12th, which will allow players who sign after that date to participate in most of the offseason practices with their new club (OTAs, minicamp, etc.).
Tags: compensatory picks, June 1st, NFL free agency
Posted in Inside the Bills
The Bills draft pick total remains at six after the league handed out their 32 compensatory draft picks for the 2015 draft Tuesday. The 32 compensatory picks were handed out to just 14 NFL clubs.
To initially qualify for compensatory picks a team must have a net loss of free agents from the previous offseason. Buffalo did not have that with the signing of Corey Graham, Brandon Spikes, Chris Williams, Keith Rivers and Boobie Dixon last spring.
Their biggest free agent loss last offseason was Jairus Byrd, and the size of his contract in New Orleans might have qualified Buffalo to land a seventh this year, had there been extra picks to go around provided the Bills were near even on their free agent balance sheet.
But with 10 of the 14 NFL clubs this year being awarded multiple compensatory picks due to their net free agent losses, the 32 compensatory selections were distributed to qualifying clubs in short order. Here’s a look at the teams that are benefiting now after losing some quality talent in the free agent market last offseason.
Kansas City Chiefs: 3rd round (98), 5th round (172), 5th round (173), 6th round (217)
Denver Broncos: 4th round (133), 6th round (208), 7th round (250), 7th round (251)
Seattle Seahawks: 4th round (134), 5th round (170), 6th round (209), 6th round (214)
Baltimore Ravens: 4th round (136), 5th round (171), 5th round (175)
Houston Texans: 5th round (174), 6th round (211), 6th round (216)
New England Patriots: 3rd round (97), 7th round (253)
Cincinnati Bengals: 3rd round (99), 4th round (135)
San Francisco 49ers: 4th round (132), 7th round (254)
Carolina Panthers: 5th round (169), 6th round (213)
Green Bay Packers: 6th round (210), 6th round (212)
St. Louis Rams: 6th round (215)
Pittsburgh Steelers: 7th round (252)
Indianapolis Colts: 7th round (255)
Arizona Cardinals: 7th round (256)
Tags: 2015 NFL draft, compensatory picks
Posted in Inside the Bills
The NFL handed out their compensatory picks at the league meetings Monday in Orlando. As we mentioned last month the Bills were not expected to receive an additional draft choice, and they did not.
The Ravens and Jets were the biggest beneficiaries with four compensatory picks apiece. Baltimore received an extra third, two fourths and a fifth, while the Jets got a fourth and three sixths.
Dallas, Houston and Pittsburgh got three each while Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit and Green Bay each received a pair.
Buffalo was last awarded a compensatory pick in 2012 when they were given an extra seventh round selection.
Tags: 2014 NFL draft, compensatory picks
Posted in Inside the Bills
Another week of your questions with the NFL Combine on the horizon next week. Be sure to follow Buffalobills.com for full coverage from Indianapolis beginning next Wednesday. For now here’s this week’s edition with questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.
1 – Hey Chris,
I was just wondering if the Bills will get any compensatory picks in the draft this year and if so what round? I’m thinking maybe one for the loss of Levitre and even maybe the loss of Rhinehart?
Tommy of Pittsford
CB: Unfortunately it looks like the Bills will not be getting anything by way of compensatory picks this year. As I blogged this week, the main criteria that a team needs to fill to even qualify for a compensatory pick is to have a net loss of free agents. Buffalo is even on free agents from last offseason in terms of the signings and losses that qualify under the league’s formula. They lost Andy Levitre and Chad Rinehart and signed Alan Branch and Manny Lawson.
Now knowing the league has to hand out 32 total compensatory picks, the size of Levitre’s contract would’ve made Buffalo eligible for what’s called a ‘net value pick,’ but with a lot of free agent player movement last year it’s anticipated that all 32 compensatory picks awarded this March will be for free agent players lost.
2 – Dear Chris,
Thanks for all the work you and your staff does to keep Bills fans informed, My question is about the upcoming free agency, who do you think the bills might bring in on offense, defense and special teams to help the bills get back to the playoffs next year?
Also, just wondering about Brandon Coleman from Rutgers, is he eligible for the draft this year or is he a year or two away? Also do you think that when he enters the draft do you think that the bills might keep Stevie around and pair him with Coleman and Goodwin, because I watched tape on Coleman and to me he seems like a perennial deep threat and a lot of defenses might have trouble containing him especially if he gets open down field?
Thanks for all your work, Chris from Upstate NY
CB: I think Bills GM Doug Whaley has made it clear that they will not pursue the big ticket free agents. You want to look at free agents who can come in and be either a solid starter or role players much like what we saw last year with Alan Branch and Manny Lawson.
As for Brandon Coleman, while his size is appealing to what the Bills need to add to their receiving corps, I don’t know that he’s the full package Buffalo is looking for. He has some intriguing qualities, but one that he lacks is physical toughness, which hurts him in getting off press coverage.
Now that can be improved with good coaching, but with some elements of his game needing development I think he’s a mid-round pick.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Buffalo looked for a veteran free agent receiver first before looking for a size receiver in the draft.
3 – Hey Chris,
The Bills in my mind took nice steps to becoming a playoff team, but there are still areas on concern. The areas I have identified has needs are as follows, RG, OLB, RT, WR, CB. The Bills should definitely try their hardest to bring back Byrd and Chandler. If they do that then it sets them up perfectly in the draft to take playmakers. I have always felt that the draft is the best place to find playmakers. With that said do you feel like the Bills can fix most of their problems through free agency? I also know a lot of people that would love to see Sammy Watkins in a Bills uniform, any chance the Bills go with a playmaker in the 1st round?
Josh, Syracuse, NY
CB: I think some of your positional areas of concern are valid mostly notably LB, OL and WR. As I said above it would not surprise me if they look to try and land an affordable veteran receiver before turning to the draft.
I still do not believe Sammy Watkins will reach the Bills at ninth overall in round one. Even if he somehow slips out of the top five I would expect to see another team trade into the top 10 to get him. Now if the perfect storm unfolds and he is sitting there for Buffalo at nine it would be supremely difficult for the Bills to pass on him.
4 – Hi Chris,
There has been plenty of talk around OBD about getting a big wr. Do you think the Bills could target a wr that has character issues but great talent. Specifically Hakeem Nicks or Kenny Britt? Another name that would seem possible is Emmanuel Sanders with Whaley’s Pittsburgh ties. I know coach Marrone has said they have in house talent but I find that hard to believe that would be their top option going into the off-season.
CB: I think the injury concerns surrounding Hakeem Nicks and Kenny Britt compromise their attractiveness. Consistency with both players is also an issue. I don’t know that Sanders is much of an upgrade either.
Personally I’d prefer a proven veteran that can provide instant impact while the young players continue to develop and mature. I know he’s 33, but I wouldn’t mind Anquan Boldin on a two-year deal. He plays bigger than his height and would instantly be the most physical receiver on the roster and can still produce. Green Bay’s James Jones (29) is another player with a physical game, who can make plays and may prosper with a larger role.
5 – Dear Chris,
Nearly 100 underclassmen have declared for the draft this year. Players that might have been 6th or 7th round selections in previous years won’t be selected this year because of the larger than usual group of available ranked players. This is an opportunity for the Bills to scoop up good players if they can beat other GMs to them after the draft. My question is this; I’ve heard the team “priority free agent”. What does that mean? Is there a standard contract that all teams give to undrafted players that can be sweetened if a team has a special interest in one of the undrafteds? If so, are teams restricted in the number of sweetened contracts they can offer to these players? Finally, do you see the Bills being aggressive in this market?
CB: The term ‘priority free agent’ is just a classification by draftniks to indicate a prospect who probably won’t be drafted, but will be a highly sought after college free agent by NFL teams. Yes, teams have the ability to sweeten an undrafted free agent contract for a player they highly covet. That usually comes in the form of signing bonus money.
The Bills are usually very aggressive in this market. How persistent and how much they are willing to raise the signing bonus money to land one usually depends on how much they value the prospect. It’s a case by case basis.
Tags: 2014 NFL draft, Anquan Boldin, Brandon Coleman, compensatory picks, Doug Whaley, Fan Friday, James Jones, NFL free agency, undrafted college free agents
Posted in Inside the Bills
The NFL typically issues their compensatory picks to the clubs in late March at the owners’ meetings, but the experts out in cyberspace, who have largely cracked the league’s unpublicized formula for awarding compensatory selections in the draft, and accurately predict what teams will get extra picks, don’t see the Bills getting anything additional this spring.
Recently on Philly.com, compensatory pick prognosticator Jimmy Kempski forecast how the league will award these picks and to which clubs. Based on his projections the Bills will not be awarded any compensatory picks.
One of the main reasons why is a team, first and foremost, must have a net loss of free agents from the previous offseason. Based on past history there are several free agents who do not fall under the “net loss” formula. An example would be restricted free agents or exclusive rights free agents who are not tendered by their teams, like David Nelson last year.
So based on those stipulations the Bills broke even on free agents, losing Andy Levitre and Chad Rinehart, while signing Alan Branch and Manny Lawson.
Kevin Kolb does not count because he was released by Arizona and not an unrestricted free agent.
The league only awards 32 total compensatory picks a year in the draft. If there has not been enough player movement to warrant the full 32 compensatory picks in that fashion, the rest are awarded as net value picks, usually to teams who lost a free agent that signed for top 10 money at their position.
Such would be the case for the Bills with Andy Levitre, who signed for big money in Tennessee last year. However, with a high rate of player movement last year in free agency these projections indicate that every single compensatory pick this year will be awarded to teams that experienced a net loss in free agents. So teams like Buffalo (with Levitre) and Oakland (with Phillip Wheeler) would not receive a seventh round compensatory as a net value pick.
Their projection list is below with Pittsburgh and Green Bay the only clubs forecast to land picks at the end of the round three, the highest round in which a compensatory selection is given.
3 – Pittsburgh – Mike Wallace
3 – Green Bay – Greg Jennings
4 – San Francisco – Dashon Goldson
4 – Baltimore – Paul Kruger
4 – Detroit – Gosder Cherilus
4 – Baltimore – Dannell Ellerbe
5 – Houston – Connor Barwin
5 – New York Jets – LaRon Landry
5 – Baltimore – Cary Williams
5 – Atlanta – Brent Grimes
5 – Pittsburgh – Keenan Lewis
5 – New York Giants – Martellus Bennett
5 – Baltimore – Ed Reed
5 – Houston – Glover Quin
6 – New York Jets – Mike DeVito
6 – Green Bay – Erik Walden
6 – New York Jets – Dustin Keller
6 – New England – Patrick Chung
6 – Cincinnati – Manny Lawson
6 – St. Louis – Brandon Gibson
6 – New York Jets – Shonn Greene
7 – St. Louis – Bradley Fletcher
7 – Dallas – Mike Jenkins
7 – Cincinnati – Pat Sims
7 – St. Louis – Craig Dahl
7 – St. Louis – Rob Turner
7 – Dallas – Victor Butler
7 – Cincinnati – Bruce Gradkowski
7 – Tampa Bay – Geno Hayes
7 – Atlanta – Will Svitek
7 – Atlanta – Christopher Owens
7 – San Diego – Shaun Phillips
Tags: 2014 NFL draft, Alan Branch, Andy Levitre, compensatory picks, Manny Lawson
Posted in Inside the Bills
Happy New Year Bills fans! We can only hope that 2014 will hold much better fortunes for the team. In fact hopefully this Fan Friday edition next year will be talking about the postseason with the Bills in it. Here’s your latest edition of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.
1 – @ChrisBrownBills is dareus being traded for being late to meetings just smoke?
CB: I did not hear that rumor and would be stunned if that happened. Here’s where I believe coach Marrone and Doug Whaley stand on Dareus. He just had his most productive season in the NFL. He’s 23-years old. He’s done some irresponsible things as they pertain to the team (chronic lateness). Marrone has said they have addressed the issue. Dareus, to his credit, faced the music in the postgame locker room after his first half benching and sounded remorseful. He has to live with that feeling of letting his teammates down all offseason. I think the Bills see that as a motivator for Dareus moving forward and it should be.
Perhaps the most important thing to come out of Dareus’ postgame comments last week were his references to being a leader. Obviously coach Marrone told him he expects Dareus to be a future leader on the team, and that he can’t help lead a team when he can’t be a responsible professional himself. But it’s clear the path they see Dareus traveling with this team. Hopefully Dareus can see it too.
CB: Yes, now that the regular season is over they can resume negotiations with Jairus Byrd on a long term contract extension provided the Byrd camp wants to negotiate. Byrd’s last public comments on the John Murphy Show were that he was open to returning to the Bills on a long term contract. Of course he’s open to anything that might come his way.
Bills GM Doug Whaley said this week they will make him an offer in an effort to keep him long term. Whether it’s enough to convince the free agent safety remains to be seen.
3 – Chris,
With the roster in evaluation mode, who are the 2014 Bills free agents? How high is Carrington on the Bills list? Will the Bills be awarded a high pick for Levitre?
CB: Hopefully you saw my blog earlier this week listing the free agents. With Alan Branch already re-signed it gives Buffalo some leverage with Carrington. I’m sure they would like to add Carrington back to the fold, but he’s got to prove he’s healthy coming off his torn quadriceps suffered back in Week 3. I talked briefly to Carrington a couple of weeks ago and he’s said his rehab has gone quite well.
The Bills tried to re-sign Carrington right before the season started, but were turned down by Carrington’s agent, who also happens to be the same agent for Jairus Byrd. The market will be considerably softer for Carrington due to the injury, so the Bills can probably afford to provide just a reasonable offer to get him back on the roster.
As for a compensatory pick it begins and ends with a net loss of free agents. I don’t believe they had a net loss of free agents knowing they signed Manny Lawson, Alan Branch, Kevin Kolb and Doug Legursky while losing Andy Levitre, Chad Rinehart and Kyle Moore (who did not make Chicago’s roster).
Levitre’s large salary could net a compensatory for Buffalo, but we’ll have to see which signings the league qualifies as free agent losses. Moore’s small salary upon signing with the Bears may be excluded.
4 – Hey Chris,
My question is in regards to the players during off season. Do the players with injuries going into the off season continue rehabbing with the Bills training staff, Drs., etc at the Bills facility? What about the players whose contracts are up after this year? Is it now their own responsibility to find ways of rehabbing injuries outside of the Bills organization?
Thanks Chris, Tim in Niagara Ontario
CB: To my knowledge it is usually at the player’s discretion as to where they would prefer to rehab. Some have chosen to rehab here in town in the offseason (e.g. Marcus Easley). Others have chosen to rehab back home and then come in for periodic check-ups with the Bills medical and training staff.
For players whose contracts are up after this season, they technically can still rehab with the Bills because their contracts do not expire until March 11th. But that is not usually what players in that situation choose to do.
5 – Chris:
Great job of coverage again this year, so thank you for all of your consistent hard work in keeping Bills fans on top of what is going on.
Looking ahead to the 2014 season, it looks like the Bills will be facing the AFC West and NFC North teams due to the rotating schedules. So, that means the Bills will be tested by the likes of Peyton Manning, Phillip Rivers, Drew Stafford, Alex Smith, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Ryan Tannehill, to name a few.
Do you think the upcoming schedule plays any role or factor in how the Bills will view the importance of bringing back Jairus Byrd for 2014, based on the level of quarterbacks that the team will face next year?
Besides Byrd, any news or updates on players that the Bills are trying to sign to contract extensions before they hit free agency? Thanks Chris.
Dan in Cheshire, CT
CB: Thanks for the compliments Dan. Much appreciated.
While the list of quarterbacks for Buffalo’s opponents in 2014 is impressive I don’t know that it’s a determining factor in how vigorously the Bills will pursue a new contract with Jairus Byrd. I think the decision on how determined they’ll be to re-sign him has already been made. Now they will simply try to execute that plan. Byrd’s value is already established in their eyes. Naturally Byrd has a value himself. That likely wasn’t impacted any more or any less by the quarterbacks they’ll be facing this coming season.
Tags: Alex Carrington, compensatory picks, Doug Whaley, Fan Friday, Jairus Byrd, Marcell Dareus
Posted in Inside the Bills
The 2013 NFL draft is closing in. Pre-draft visits have wrapped up today. Let’s get to this week’s edition of questions from you the fan from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.
1 – CB,
Buddy had mentioned following the way the Bengals drafted AJ Green and Andy Dalton. Do you seen a scenario where the Bills go QB in round 1 and WR in round two? What do you think of the possibility of Geno Smith and Justin Hunter? I think these two are the might be the best players available when the Bills will pick in rounds 1 and 2. What are the scouts saying about Hunter, can he separate from DB’s at his size/speed?
CB: I’m at a point now where I getting the sense they don’t like any of the quarterbacks enough to take one at 8. I think that Buffalo doesn’t take a quarterback for sure at 8 if Geno Smith is off the board. So your scenario I believe is unlikely to transpire even though Buddy Nix did mention the desire to make those kinds of additions. I think a receiver is certainly a possibility in round two.
The value at the receiver position is very good between rounds two and four, so there’s also a window of opportunity there for Buffalo to wait on a receiver and address quarterback in round two and receiver in round 3. So what you’re proposing may happen, just in rounds 2 and 3 as opposed to 1 and 2.
As for Hunter specifically there’s no denying his deep speed, but he’s a straight-line speed guy. Having the combination of speed and quickness makes you a killer at wideout. He doesn’t possess both of those qualities, which is why he’s a second round prospect. He is a good route runner, which is what gets him separation. My only concern with him is his slight build. It makes me wonder if he’ll struggle early in his career with press coverage and the physical corners in the NFL. That also concerns me in terms of battling for the ball with DBs in the air.
2 – Chris,
Since Chris Kelsay has retired do you think Mario Williams will want his old number back? If so does the new Nike contracts require Mario to pay for all his unsold number 94 jerseys? Or how does the process work for changing numbers? Thanks for everything you do Chris!
-Fred M, Scotia NY
CB: It is my understanding that Mario is keeping number 94, but yes if Mario had changed to 90 he would’ve had to cover Nike for the outstanding inventory in terms of money.
3 – Chris,
With Levitre will the Bills get draft picks this year or next year, from Tennessee, for guard Andy Levitre?
If so, what round picks?
CB: The Bills will qualify for compensatory picks if they first and foremost have a net loss of free agents (sign fewer than they lose). That equation can prove difficult because some free agent signings and losses qualify, while others do not. I can say the size of Levitre’s contract would play in Buffalo’s favor, but again only if the Bills have a net loss of free agents or are even.
Determining the rounds is almost impossible at this point because the situations of the other 31 NFL clubs would have to be factored in.
4 – Chris,
Do you see the Bills taking Geno Smith or an OG over one of the very talented OLBs (Jarvis Jones or Dion Jordan) or one of the top tackles (Lane Johnson) with the 8th pick? Just don’t see the value of taking a QB at 8 with the inconsistencies shown by the current candidates. Also, what do you think of Nigel Bradham possibly moving inside? Adding his athleticism and speed inside might add significant flexibility as the team moves to a Hybrid structure.
Jim from Allentown Pa.
CB: I’m not convinced they like Geno Smith enough to take him at 8. I obviously do not have an expert opinion like the members of the Bills scouting department, but I do like Geno Smith a lot and would not have a problem with them taking him at 8 at all. I’m just doubting he’ll be there.
With that in mind I think the best defensive player on the board is the most likely outcome at 8.
Your assessment of Nigel Bradham is very astute. He has experience playing inside from his days at Florida State. So I would almost anticipate him moving there and being the three down linebacker.
5 – Chris,
With the new defensive coaching change, do you feel this will benefit A. Moats who lost his LB spot and then late season played some DE? What position do you see him competing for? Also, with Wilson and Levitre gone, any ideas for who’s going to be the next Show host? Do the fans have a say? Thanks again for all you do Chris!!
Dan in LA
CB: I anticipate Moats lining up in a couple of places, both OLB and ILB. Inside might be the best fit for him, but there is competition there. It’s a wait and see quite frankly.
As for our programming on Buffalobills.com concerning player involvement we’ve reached out to a couple of players, but feel free to provide suggestions. Obviously, participation in such a program is a commitment that a player has to make. We leave it up to them to decide if they want to do it, so please understand if your suggestion is not honored there’s usually a good reason why. Thanks for your viewership of our player programming on Buffalobills.com.
Tags: 2013 NFL draft, Andy Levitre, Arthur Moats, Chris Kelsay, compensatory picks, Dion Jordan, Fan Friday, Geno Smith, Jarvis Jones, Lane Johnson, Mario Williams, Nigel Bradham
Posted in Inside the Bills
With the compensatory picks now awarded to 15 different NFL clubs we now know the overall number of every one of Buffalo’s 10 draft choices. Here they are.
1st round – #10
2nd round – #41 (9th in round)
3rd round – #72 (8th in round)
4th round – #105 & #124 (10th and 29th in round – 2nd via Evans trade with Balt.)
5th round – #144 & #147 (9th and 12th in round – 2nd via Lynch trade with Sea.)
6th round – #178 (8th in round)
7th round – #217 & #251 (10th and 44th in round – 2nd via compensatory)
Tags: 2012 NFL draft, Bills overall picks, compensatory picks
Posted in Inside the Bills
With the Bills being awarded a compensatory pick for the 2012 draft, we thought we’d take a look at Buffalo’s compensatory pick history since 2005.
The Bills have had just four compensatory picks awarded to them in the last seven years prior to Monday’s awarding of an additional seventh (#251 overall). Here are the players selected with compensatories since 2005. Keep in mind all but one were seventh rounders.
2005 – none
2006 – C Aaron Merz (7th)
2007 – none
2008 – TE Derek Fine (4th), CB Kennard Cox (7th)
2009 – none
2010 – none
2011 – OL Mike Jasper (7th)
Tags: 2012 NFL draft, compensatory picks, Mike Jasper
Posted in Inside the Bills
The Bills were awarded a compensatory pick in this spring’s draft on Monday, and though we know most of the criteria that’s weighed in the league’s awarding of compensatories, the exact formula is a bit of a mystery even to NFL front office executives. In the case of the Bills this time around, however, the odds are good they have the Paul Posluszny contract to thank for the seventh-round pick.
Last offseason Posluszny signed a whopping six-year $45M contract handed to him by the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was considerably more money than any contract Buffalo handed out to any of their free agents last year. Contract size for free agents lost or signed does factor into the league’s compensatory equation.
We’re hearing that Buffalo’s compensatory pick (#251) was the last of those awarded for actual free agent losses. The last two awarded after Buffalo’s (#252, #253) were extras handed to the clubs with the worst 2011 won-loss records to fulfill the requirement of awarding 32 total compensatory picks.
Tags: 2012 NFL draft, compensatory picks, Paul Posluszny
Posted in Inside the Bills
Super Bowl XLVI is just a couple of days away, but Bills fans are focused on other things. Let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 – Hey Chris,
Love your work. I was just wondering if you had insights about a player like Luke Kuechly? I have never seen a linebacker diagnose so many plays in such a big time conference. I imagine that when we pick @ 10 this kid might slip to us. I know Buddy mentioned a lot but what do you think?
CB: Thanks for the kind words. Kuechly is a heck of a linebacker no doubt about it and in terms of the overall player rankings he is largely considered a top 10-15 talent. Kelvin Sheppard is marked down as the starting MLB in Buffalo’s new 4-3 defense. I’d expect Nick Barnett to play on the open side (WLB) where his athleticism can be maximized. If the Bills believe Kuechly is capable of playing a strong side linebacker role in a 4-3 he could be a consideration. I’m not sure he is a consensus Top 10 talent in the eyes of NFL scouts however, due to his lack of elite athleticism.
There’s no denying Kuechly’s instincts and impressive productivity, but if his upside in the eyes of scouts is limited by his athleticism he might not be worthy of a top 10 pick for the teams that are picking in that area. We’ll see if we can get a gauge on what the Bills think of Kuechly’s upside in the coming weeks.
2 – Chris,
I read your Fan Friday blog today and with regards to your answer about the Bills seeking a proven play making receiver in FA instead of the draft I am curious if you believe that they will actually attempt to reel one in?
The Bills are not going to get into a bidding war and I completely understand why. The only 3 guys in free agency that fit the description given by Nix are Colston, Bowe, and Jackson. All others are NOT proven play makers and definitely do NOT match the open when covered analogy that Nix used.
I can see the team putting a big offer out to Bowe and Jackson and saying take it or leave it and whichever one signs the team takes or if they both say no thanks then looking to the draft to fill the need.
This brings me to my next point. Given the fact that the drop off between Blackmon and Floyd is not that great could you see the Bills drafting a receiver at 10 if a “big play making” receiver was there? I have no clue what the tape that coaches and scouts shows about the top pass rushers in this class but judging from my opinion from what I have researched there is not a clear pass rusher that belongs in the top 10, in fact I don’t see one that should be a top 15 pick. Thank you for taking the time.
CB: I think your free agent targets are on the money and I do believe if any of them make it to the free agent market March 13th (not sure any of them will) then the Bills will likely make their best offer and see if anyone is interested.
As for the pass rushers in the draft at the top of the board I think there’s a good chance that Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw would be there at 10 and I believe he’s worthy of that pick. There might be a couple of other considerations (Melvin Ingram), but the choices are admittedly limited.
That being said I’m not convinced Buffalo would take a receiver that high. Yes, Floyd is probably the second best WR in the class after Blackmon, but he does have somewhat of a diva label on him and has an injury history as well as a DUI charge from last March. There’s no denying he’s a playmaker, but those are a lot of issues for an NFL club to iron out and feel good about to make him a top 10 investment.
Chan Gailey always talks about adding players of high character to his team, and he’s a man of his word so I’m not sure Floyd is a fit.
3 – Chris,
Looking more into the injury situation and that the Bills led the league in I-R designations, has Buddy Nix looked into the A-Turf Titan playing surface that currently only the Bills have installed? It would seem that possibly a FieldTurf or Sportexe surface would be a better alternative as a lot of the teams that have been successful with less injuries such as New England, the Jets, or Baltimore have these surfaces installed. Up until last year Rogers Centre also had FieldTurf. Thanks for all the updates you provide Bills fans around the country.
Larry in Tucson AZ
CB: I don’t believe the turf is the culprit here. Terrence McGee, Donald Jones and Fred Jackson all went down in the span of a quarter and a half in Miami on grass. All three were lost for the season. Eric Wood tore an ACL on Field Turf in Dallas without any contact. So I don’t think you can make that connection. It’s the brutality of the game that led to most of Buffalo’s injuries in my opinion.
4 – Chris,
Since Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey arrived in Buffalo, they have been steering toward a 3-4 defense. Yes they play quite a bit of a 4-3 defense, but their draft picks have been geared toward the 3-4 defense. After two years of drafting players like: Torrell Troup, Kelvin Sheppard, Alex Carrington, Marcell Dareus and acquiring players like Shawne Merriman and Nick Barnett all for playing the 3-4 defense. If Dave Wannstedt goes back to the 4-3 defense, is that NOT going to set us back a few more years, until we start drafting and acquiring more 4-3 personnel??? And where does that put these players that I have mentioned???
Devoted Bills FAN
CB: Don, your question is very valid, but Buddy Nix already addressed this issue so I’ll let his comment handle your question.
“The guys we drafted this past year, Marcell Dareus can play in any defense,” said Nix. “Aaron Williams, he’s going to play no matter what you do. Kelvin Sheppard can play in either defense. Da’Norris Searcy he’s going to play in either. All of our defensive draft picks this past year would fit either defense. As an outside backer you want a guy 6’4” or 6’5” 255 or 260. In a 4-3 those guys are defensive ends. If he’s that size and he can rush the passer he can play in either one.”
Those are the exact measurables for Shawne Merriman so I would anticipate that he too would fit as a defensive end, and let me remind you that Merriman is very, very underrated as a run defender. Torell Troup played in a 4-3 at Central Florida and knows the scheme well. Carrington played in a 4-3 at Arkansas State at end. Nix and his personnel department knowing how much hybrid defense is played week to week in this league made a point of getting scheme versatile players. And because of that the defensive front should not suffer a setback.
5 – Hi Chris,
I enjoy your coverage of the team very much. My question for you is do the Bills still have a draft pick left this year from the Lynch trade and what did they get for Lee Evans? Also it seems like they should be in line for a compensatory pick of some kind this year for Poz. Ok, thanks again for all the info!!
CB: Thanks for the compliment. The Bills got a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft for Lee Evans from Baltimore. As for the Lynch trade it was a conditional sixth-round pick that could become a fifth-round pick. From what I understand the chances are good that it will be a fifth-round pick, but because it is a conditional agreement, those conditions agreed upon by the two clubs must be confirmed by the league as being satisfied. That has yet to happen.
With respect to a compensatory pick for the loss of Paul Posluszny that should happen. I would anticipate a fifth or sixth-round pick knowing the size of Poz’s contract has a lot to do with the unknown compensatory formula that the league employs. Buffalo did not have a free agent signee that came remotely close to Poz’s $45M deal with Jacksonville so I’d expect Buffalo to get one for losing him.
So breaking it all down the Bills will have nine picks and should get a 10th as a compensatory (round to be determined). Here are the rounds of the picks we know they have assuming the pick from the Lynch trade is a fifth, though the league has not confirmed it. (1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 7).
Tags: 2012 NFL draft, A-Turf, Buddy Nix, compensatory picks, Courtney Upshaw, Fan Friday, Luke Kuechly
Posted in Inside the Bills
Couple of big division games here these next two Sundays. Time to fire up another edition of Fan Friday, with your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net. And since I won’t be back with you until next Friday have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
1 – Chris,
Given the recent shortage of WR’s on the team, I can’t help but think about Marcus Easley, wishing he was playing. Can you give us an update on Marcus? How is he doing and have they found anything out as of yet? I know that it may simply be a personal issue that he and/or the team doesn’t want to put out there, but there are plenty of fans thinking of him.
CB: Unfortunately I can’t. I just spoke to Easley on Thursday and he is choosing to keep his medical condition private. He would not say whether the condition is career threatening or if he’ll know at some point in the future whether he will be fit to play football. Obviously the hope is that he’ll be able to play again. I think his size and speed could be put to good use on the outside. It’s just unfortunate because by this point in the season it wouldn’t have shocked me if he had earned a starting job.
2 – Chris,
During our great start to the season everyone thought the Bills would eventually fade and return to their rightful spot as a mediocre team.
I’ve seen it said on TV and posted online that the Bills are due for “market correction”. What can this team do to prove everyone wrong and
show that they really are an elite team?
Salt Lake City
CB: I don’t think it’s going to be easy. Unfortunately the depth of the team has been challenged by injuries, and if you remember Bills GM Buddy Nix was trying to calm everyone down after the fast start saying staying healthy was the key to keep things going. As the rigors of football have claimed two of the team’s best linemen for the season in Kyle Williams and Eric Wood along with some other key players (Roscoe Parrish, Shawne Merriman) with still others in and out of the lineup it’s going to prove difficult to sustain or re-gain the level of success they had earlier this season. I think they’ll still win games, but winning three in a row or four out of five is going to be much more difficult.
3 – Chris,
I suppose there are bigger concerns for the Bills and Bills fans right now, but an article about Josh Nesbitt that was linked to on buffalobills.com got me to wondering again about something I wanted to ask you back when the season began. I was intrigued that the Bills decided to keep Nesbitt on their practice squad, but to switch him from quarterback to safety. I guess they didn’t think he had enough quarterback skills to make it at this level, but saw enough general football skills to keep him around? And who’s idea was it to try the safety position? Even with all the guys coming and going on the PS as the season progresses, he keeps hanging around. Do you think he has a legitimate shot at being an NFL safety some day?
Bob in Orlando, FL
CB: Right now I think it’s too early to tell whether Nesbitt can be an NFL safety. I do know that the guy is an athlete. If George Wilson cannot go on Sunday, Nesbitt is likely to be active and see some time on special teams. He was an option QB at Georgia Tech, but has some experience as a defensive back so I believe that’s where the idea started.
4 – Chris,
The Bills “lost” Donte Whitner and POZ through free agency to other teams. Compensatory picks are sometimes awarded to teams that have a net negative loss of free agents. I know the formula to calculate compensatory picks is a bit esoteric, but do you think the Bills might have a shot at a compensatory pick higher than a 7th rounder?
I understand you start with the players and the round they were drafted. Lost [Donte (1st rounder) + POZ (2nd rounder)] – Gained [Brad Smith(4th rounder)] = Comp. pick
Then the NFL committee factors in things like playing time, production, etc. Love to see the NFL award the Bills a 5th…….we need all the picks we can get!
P.S. Correct me if I am wrong, but I left Nick Barrett out because he was waived before the Bills signed him.
CB: You’re right that the Nick Barnett signing would not count in calculating whether the Bills had a net loss of free agents. However, I believe Tyler Thigpen would count toward that total. If so it might be an even two-for-two. That being said the two contracts signed by both Thigpen and Smith don’t add up to what Poz got from Jacksonville (6-$45M). Whitner’s deal was comparable to Thigpen’s.
So while the Bills may not have sustained a net loss of free agents, Poz’s contract size present a good argument that the Bills lost better free agents than it acquired, which would also qualify them for a compensatory pick.
Last year three clubs (Oakland, Seattle and New Orleans) each received a compensatory pick even though they did not suffer a net loss of compensatory free agents last year. Under the league’s formula, the compensatory free agents lost by these clubs were ranked higher than the ones they signed (by a specified point differential based upon salary and performance).
I think that could happen for the Bills next spring based on Poz’s salary and performance. Of course Oakland, Seattle and New Orleans were the last three compensatory picks awarded at the bottom of the seventh round, so that’s where I’d expect the Bills to be given one as well in 2012.
Also remember, last year the league also handed out 11 additional compensatory choices to the teams with the worst records in 2010. The rules state that the number of compensatory picks must equal the number of teams in the league (32). So if the regular compensatory picks distributed falls short of that number the figure is reached by giving compensatories to the teams with the poorest won-loss records. Buffalo got one of those last spring, which they used on Mike Jasper. Hopefully the Bills don’t qualify for that again this offseason, if you know what I mean.
5 – Chris,
I have three other I/R related questions: Earlier this season I read that one of the many reasons that the Colts have kept Peyton on the roster rather than put him on I/R is so Peyton would get paid his full contracted salary for the 2011 season.
1) I thought players got their full salary if they went on I/R since the players are under contract, isn’t that true? (unless they work a deal with the team to separate from the team and get released from the I/R list )
2) If players on I/R don’t get their full salary, while they stay with the Bills to play for them again next season, what type of % of their salary do they get while on I/R.
3) Do salaries being paid to players on I/R remain part of the salary cap or do they come off the cap and fall under another type of classification?
CB: First, players do not get their full salary when they go on injured reserve. The percentage to which their pay is reduced is dependent upon the player’s contract. Typically, younger players see a larger reduction in pay than veteran players and higher draft choices see a smaller reduction in pay, but it’s on a case by case basis.
The players that go on injured reserve still count towards the cap. Obviously with the salary number reduced there’s some relief provided, but NFL clubs must give themselves wiggle room so they can absorb the contract of the new player to replace them on the active roster.
Tags: compensatory picks, Fan Friday, George Wilson, injured reserve, Josh Nesbitt, Marcus Easley
Posted in Inside the Bills
Buffalo’s stock of draft picks has increased by one as the league handed out their compensatory picks late on Friday. The Bills will have a second draft choice in round 7 where they will pick 44th in the round with the 244th overall selection.
The Bills did not have a net loss of free agents, the primary requirement for being awarded a compensatory pick, but with only 21 awarded under the NFL’s formula which requires a net loss of free agents, an additional 11 had to be distributed to equal the number of teams in the league.
The league rules state that the additional picks needed, however many the number, be awarded to clubs based on the draft order until a total of 32 compensatory picks are distributed. So the order in which they were handed out is almost like an eighth round.
The Bills draft third in round 1, second in round 2, fourth in round 3, third in round 4, second in round 5, fourth in round 6 and third in round 7 due to a rotating record tiebreaker with Denver and Cincinnati. So in a hypothetical eighth round the Bills would draft second based on the rotation.
That’s why the order of the 11 remaining picks at the bottom of the seventh round went as follows. Carolina, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Denver, Cleveland Arizona, San Francisco, Tennessee, Dallas, Washington and Houston.
Tags: 2011 NFL draft, compensatory picks
Posted in Inside the Bills
With the owners meetings taking place Monday and Tuesday, it’s typically the time when compensatory draft picks are announced for NFL clubs. That however, will not happen this time around.
According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette they will be announced at a later time. The Bills are not expected to be in line to receive any compensatory draft choices since they do not have a net loss of free agents from last offseason.
Tags: 2011 NFL draft, compensatory picks
Posted in Inside the Bills
It’s been a fun week at the Senior Bowl here in Mobile. The pre-draft process has begun. Time for your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 – Chris,
Unless the Bills take a QB with the third pick which seems unlikely do to the talent there on defensive what do you think about the middle round QB’s. Ponder from FSU seems overrated while Pat Devlin and the freakish 6’6′ speedy Colin Kaepernick looks like guys Chan could develop into a throwing quarterback. What do the scouts see of these guys?
CB: At this stage in the game scouts are hesitant to talk much about prospects. They’re still gathering the all important character background information now that they can talk to the players with the college seasons over. They did a lot of that this week at the Senior Bowl. The lobby at the hotel may as well have been a convention hall with all the one-on-one meetings I witnessed by all the NFL clubs.
As for the quarterbacks you mentioned. I love Ponder’s natural leadership and he has the physical skills to play in the league. I just want to be convinced that some of his late game mistakes this past season were a result of him trying to do too much, which could be corrected. Delaware’s Pat Devlin really struggled to complete passes at the East-West Shrine game by all accounts and that won’t fly in Buffalo’s weather, literally. Kaepernick is really intriguing. He’s got prototype size, can run around and make plays on the move and has a solid arm.
I’m really hoping he shows well in Saturday’s game, but even so he’s probably a second rounder at best at this point. I think Ponder has the best intangible/physical skills combination while Kaepernick has the most potential and I like TCU’s Andy Dalton too. He’s a smart quarterback that can make plays and rarely makes mistakes. Those are some of the middle round guys I wouldn’t mind seeing in a Bills uniform.
2 – Can you break down in general terms how the Bills scout college players? Do they travel to games or only break down game tape? Do they have scouts that focus on different regions of the country? And the non Division I schools? Since under Buddy they drafted small school guys like Batten, Moats, Brown, and free agent Donald Jones. How involved is Buddy in the scouting process or does that fall under Modrak. When does Chan fit into the process in looking at future guys? I’m sure lots of Bills fans are wondering how 1 team can look at 7 rounds of college players.
CB: Yes, scouts are assigned to specific regions of the country like the southeast or the west. They occasionally travel to games, but in large part they go to a school in the fall during the season during the week and go watch game tape at the schools. The school’s pro liaison generally sets up a room for all the scouts to make use of on campus.
Scouts look at seniors only at this time and put together full reports on any and all seniors that are believed to be draft worthy. Some schools have two, some schools have eight to 10. All of them must be done. After watching tape all morning, scouts will take in practice that afternoon on campus, and they might talk to an assistant coach to ask about a player’s work habits or talk to the strength and conditioning coach to get a feel for the player’s dedication.
Then it’s on to the next school that week and the process repeats itself week after week for about four months. In the end they usually come up with 350 draft eligible players on their board and about 150 players that they expect to go undrafted, but still might want to sign as undrafted free agents.
Buddy is involved in the scouting process. There were several weeks this season where he was out on the road from Thursday to Saturday and then re-joined the team for Sunday games. The coaching staff usually begins to focus their attention on the draft process after their review of the previous season through film study has concluded. That usually happens now during Senior Bowl week.
3 – Chris,
My question to you is: who are some of the big name free agents from other teams that you could see Buffalo going after in the offseason? Any holes that we could solve this way like the Merriman pick-up. Thanks for the daily info.
Chris in Atlanta
CB: I’ll be honest. I haven’t poured over the prospective free agents list just yet, primarily because we don’t what the state of free agency is going to be without a new labor agreement. They’ll all be in limbo. That being said I do know that Miami QB Tyler Thigpen is a free agent. Knowing his history with Chan Gailey when he was the offensive coordinator with him in Kansas City, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Bills make a play for his services as a backup quarterback behind Ryan Fitzpatrick.
4 – Chris
Just a thought and I would like your feed back. I think and hope that Troup continues to get better. I really like the guy that was added late in the season, (Kellen Heard). I was watching him for a few years until he changed schools. He looks like a beast. What would you think of Heard and Troup rotating in the middle and get Fairley in the first round and have him and Kyle Williams at the ends? That could be a great line up. I think Kyle would be an animal at DE.
CB: Fairley is my personal favorite for the Bills pick, but I’m not sure he’ll be there at three. Heard is a guy that Buffalo wants to see a bit more of so it’ll be interesting to see where his career goes heading into next season. I don’t know if he’s starter worthy.
I’ve asked coach Gailey about playing Kyle at end and he believes that Kyle is so effective inside that he can’t afford to move him to the edge of their defensive front. He thinks he does his best work in there. And yes I do believe Troup will get better as well as Carrington.
5 – Chris
Any chance of the Bills getting compensatory draft picks this year?
CB: Unfortunately Scott I’m not optimistic. The main criteria needed to qualify for compensatory picks is a net loss in free agents. Basically you need to sign fewer than you lose. What also makes it tricky is only certain free agents signed by other clubs or by your club in a predetermined offseason time period qualify. So for example Terrell Owens, who did not sign with Cincinnati until the first day of training camp, would not qualify as a loss because he signed with another club very late.
By my count I don’t have the Bills sustaining a net loss of free agents this past offseason so I’m not expecting them to be awarded any compensatories.
Tags: 2011 NFL draft, Christian Ponder, Colin Kaepernick, compensatory picks, Fan Friday, Kyle Williams, Nick Fairley, Pat Devlin, scouts, Torell Troup, Tyler Thigpen
Posted in Inside the Bills
We’re about 10 days away from our Senior Bowl coverage here on Buffalobills.com, with the Bills staff coaching the South Team. Really looking forward to bringing you some great access from Mobile. For now let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 – Hi Chris,
Are the Bills a chance of getting compensatory picks for Owens, Incognito and perhaps Jonathan Scott.
I realize the science involved in awarding Compensatory picks is somewhat complicated, we really didn’t get much help from our 2010 UFA class and these players have performed
and started a number of games for their new teams.
CB: I don’t pretend to know all the ins and outs of the league’s formula for the awarding of compensatory picks by the NFL, but I do know that it starts and ends with a net loss of free agents. Contract size and performance of free agents lost comes into play after that. Unfortunately of the free agents that qualify, I don’t see the Bills with a net loss. I see them even.
Buffalo lost Owens, Incognito and Scott as you mentioned, but they also signed Cornell Green, Andra Davis and Dwan Edwards. Even though all three of Buffalo’s signings wound up on injured reserve they make the Bills even in the free agency plus-minus equation.
Furthermore they collectively were signed for more money than the free agents that were lost, and I’m not even sure that Owens would qualify in the league’s pre-determined free agent signing window, since he did not sign with Cincinnati until the first day of training camp. Sorry, but I don’t see the Bills getting anything in the way of compensatories.
2 – Chris,
Our front 7 is our weak spot – where do you see them trying to upgrade? My opinion on keepers: Dwan Edwards, Alex Carrington, Troup, Kyle Williams, Poz, Andre Davis, Moats. Kelsay has turned it up a couple of notches recently – but as a rush 4-3 DE. So not sure where he plays in the 3-4. Maybin is too green to count on. Stroud – not sure if he is in their plans next year. McCargo – likely gone. Spencer Johnson – possible rotation guy. Akin & Torbor – perhaps as depth. I think they need another impact DE and OLB. If they can get an upgrade at ILB – great.
Tim in Albuquerque (and formerly of Syracuse)
CB: I think your assessment is pretty spot on. With the defense expected to take on more of a multiple front look where 3-4 or 4-3 could be implemented based on their opponent week to week, I think adding another DE that is stout enough to play in a 3-4 and athletic enough to play in a 4-3 is essential. I’ve been on the Nick Fairley train since November. After watching him in the LSU game I was sold.
Unfortunately with Andrew Luck not in the draft pool, I’m not sure he’ll be there at 3. Alabama’s Marcel Dareus is another viable option, though third overall might be deemed a bit high.
The linebacker class this year is not strong, particularly at ILB. Illinois junior Martez Wilson just declared for the draft and is considered the best ILB, but is a late first early second rounder at best and is projected as a weak inside LB (play next to the Mike). Other than him the only other ILBs deemed worthy of going in the first three rounds is Michigan State’s Greg Jones and North Carolina’s Quan Sturdivant. LSU’s Kelvin Sheppard, who will be on the South Team at the Senior Bowl is projected as a fourth rounder.
2 – Do you think the Bills will get two tight ends, like the Patriots did in the draft? I’d like at least two more added. Nelson’s third year is like his first two…I don’t want to be without the two tightends we can have by way of draft.
CB: I don’t see tight end as a high priority. While Chan Gailey himself has stated that he’d love to have a game breaking tight end for the passing game, I believe Buffalo has enough weapons at receiver to lessen the need for a pass catching tight end that’s a mismatch. They have Roscoe Parrish and David Nelson to work the middle of the field.
DE, OLB, ILB and CB and S based on the free agents Buffalo has are the priority positions with QB and OT ahead of TE on offense.
3 – If conventional wisdom calls for a space eater at nose tackle in the 3-4 system and Kyle Williams is the only Bills lineman who can consistenly shed blocks and get penetration, why wouldn’t the Bills move Williams to DE and put a big body in at NT? A related question is what is each D-lineman’s primary responsibility in the 3-4 system employed by the Bills?
CB: Well the Bills did not play a conventional two-gap 3-4 system for most of the season with Williams at NT for exactly the reason you point out. Williams himself admitted that he played more of a three-technique (lined up on outside shoulder of the guard) this season and a one-technique (off shoulder of center) instead of head up on the center.
I believe the Bills staff shares your opinion so that’s why they’re going to a multiple look front in 2011, where they can choose to play more 3-4 or 4-3 depending on the opponent.
4 – Chris,
I noticed that Jason Watkins has been on the Practice squad most of the last two seasons. Can you tell us anything about his progress?
He seems to have outstanding size for a left tackle prospect.
CB: While Watkins played tackle in college at Florida, since the new staff has come in he’s played significantly more at guard. Unfortunately for him this team added a lot of talent at the guard position that they obviously feel is superior to that of Watkins. Kraig Urbik, Cordaro Howard and Chad Rinehart are the examples.
I expect him to be in the fold again at next year’s training camp, but he’s really going to need to step up his game if he intends to leapfrog the aforementioned linemen and make the active roster.
5 – Chris,
Do you have a list of all the Bills who are due to become UFA, RFA and ERFA this offseason? Different websites are giving me conflicting information and I’m not sure what is correct.
CB: Here’s the official list, but remember we don’t know for sure which players will be unrestricted for sure with no new CBA between the players and league. We’ll assume for argument’s sake that fourth-year players will be unrestricted, third-year players restricted and anything less exclusive rights.
LB Akin Ayodele, CB Drayton Florence, LB Keith Ellison, DL John McCargo, LB Paul Posluszny, S Donte Whitner, S George Wilson, OL Mansfield Wrotto, CB Ashton Youboty.
QB Brian Brohm, TE Scott Chandler, S Jon Corto, RB Quinton Ganther
WR Felton Huggins, LS Garrison Sanborn, TE Jonathan Stupar
Tags: 2011 NFL draft, compensatory picks, Fan Friday, Free agency, Jason Watkins, Kyle Williams
Posted in Inside the Bills
The bye week provides everyone with a break from a trying start to the season. Then it’s back to the grind with a roadie at Baltimore. Let’s get to your questions (AskChris@bills.nfl.net).
1 – Hi Chris, like Buddy Nix said during his interview, its going to take some time, and nothing can be done overnight. In your opinion, do you think the Bills will ever return to prominence? I think these guys (Nix and Gailey) are experienced, and they are obviously football guys, but will it be enough to help the Bills turn the corner?
Tony, Daytona Beach, Fl
CB: I think the Bills have the right people in place to assemble a roster of quality talent and ability that can make Buffalo a perennial playoff contender. Nix is dead on, it’s going to take time. There is talent on this roster, but also a ton of holes. Nix has worked at the elbow of John Butler and Buddy Nix, two former Bills personnel men that were largely responsible for assembling the majority of the talent pooled in Buffalo in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I’m confident it can happen again… in time. The draft is the key.
2 – Hi Chris,
My question is about Buddy Nix’s scouting staff. How big is the staff? What level of compensation does the average pro scout receive? Since scouting (i.e. hitting with your draft picks) is going to be so important to the Bills success I would like to see the Bills attract the best possible talent they can find to their scouting staff.
This will obviously require opening the purse strings to entice scouts to work for Buffalo. But, it seems like a great value proposition compared to the millions teams like the Redskins throw at free agent signings (with varying results).
I don’t how much it would cost, but I would think an extra million or two spent on hiring the best scouts would be the best investment the Bills could make.
CB: There are 15 people, counting Nix, Tom Modrak and Doug Whaley on the college scouting staff. The most recent addition was Darrell Moody, who was most recently with the Chargers and serves the Bills as a National Scout, which means he’s not tied to a specific region of the country to scout.
That is one of the largest college scouting contingents in the league. Most NFL clubs average between 8 to 12 scouts. Cleveland, by my count, came the closest to Buffalo with 13. Indianapolis has 12 counting Bill Polian. Cincinnati, meanwhile, has just one person that organizes the scouting department, but their scouts are the members of their coaching staff.
I honestly do not know what the average compensation level is for NFL college scouts, nor what it would take to lure scouts away from another club.
3 – Hey Chris,
With the Bills picking up a 4th rounder for Marshawn and the Pats trading Randy Moss, I was thinking about the 2011 draft. Are the Bills eligible to pick up a compensatory pick, most likely for losing T.O.? I know the process of awarding picks is pretty confusing, but it would be nice if we may have an extra pick coming up.
CB: It’s a valid question, and you’re right the exact formula for determining compensatory picks is better protected by the NFL than the gold at Fort Knox. But a team is not even eligible to qualify for compensatory picks unless it has a net loss of free agents (lost more than they signed). There is also a time period in which signings would qualify. I’m going to have to check to see if Owens late signing (after training camps opened) would fall into the category of a free agent loss.
As I see it in a quick glance at last year’s transactions Buffalo did not have a net loss of free agents. They signed Cornell Green, Andra Davis and Dwan Edwards. They “lost” Terrell Owens, Jonathan Scott and Richie Incognito. Josh Reed doesn’t count because he did not make the San Diego roster. So I don’t think the Bills would be part of the compensatory equation.
4 – Hey Chris,
I understand the Bills traded Lynch for a 2011 4th round draft pick and a conditional pick in the 2012 draft. Can you explain the conditional pick we could be getting? Is it going to be in one of the later rounds, or is there a chance that it could be a 3rd or 4th round pick if Lynch plays well for the Seahawks? Thanks.
Brendan – Las Vegas
CB: Conditional picks are based on certain… conditions. The pick has a base line established value, in this case a sixth-round pick. So at worst the Bills will be getting a 4th round pick in 2011 and a 6th round pick in 2012. However, with the 2012 pick being conditional it is tied to certain conditions agreed upon by the Bills and the Seahawks.
What those conditions are I do not know, but in most cases with a running back they’re tied to any or all of the following, games played, playing time (percentage of team’s offensive snaps), rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, division title, playoff berth, Pro Bowl berth etc.
So basically if Lynch has a monster season in 2011, the Bills 2012 sixth-round pick from Seattle is likely to improve to a fifth-round pick. Hope that helps.
5 – Hey Chris,
It seems as though the offense has had it’s jump start by putting Fitz in , putting Fred back where he belongs #1 and we at least look respectable in a lot of ways on offense , but the roles seem to be reversed this year . Last year it seemed like the D kept us within range to win games but the Offense couldn’t put up enough points to win , now that points are going on the board the D seems like it is
suspect . Last year with the same players we at least had one of the top 10 secondaries in the NFL , but the run game is still suffering .
So I was wondering your take is it that we need to upgrade our players , is the DC on the right track , or is it just the scheme & players don’t mesh ?? If you read the others Blogs like TBD of course some of the Bills fans have all the answers but I tend to lean more towards guys like you & others that know a bit more than the fans .
Go Bills !!
Mr. T from Ft. Myers via Nashville
CB: You’re right about the offense. As many of us thought Chan Gailey would make the offense a more productive point scoring unit. They still have their flaws, but they’re scoring with regularity.
The defense has been a big problem, with stopping the run topping the list. The lack of a proven pass rusher is also hurting and preventing the men in Buffalo’s secondary from making plays on the ball because no throws are being hurried with opposing QBs not being forced to make bad decisions due to pressure.
So the answer is yes, they need to upgrade their players, yes, not all the players fit the new scheme. The defensive staff and Chan Gailey made a commitment to the 3-4. They got some long terms pieces for that system in Troup and Carrington. They’ll acquire more this offseason. A can’t miss pass rusher is what they need the most in my opinion. They also need to get bigger on that side of the ball playing in a 3-4 across the front seven.
Tags: Buddy Nix, compensatory picks, conditional picks, Fan Friday, Fred Jackson, Marshawn Lynch, Ryan Fitzpatrick
Posted in Inside the Bills
Time for another edition. You can always email your questions to me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net. I’m about a month behind, so your patience is appreciated. I should also mention that you can check the running scroll of my blog posts here, where very often a lot of your questions can already be answered. Let’s get to it.
1 – Hey Chris,
Just wondering what your thoughts are with the Roscoe Parrish situation? Whether he should be traded or released etc? Personally I think he should stay, one terrible year shouldn’t have to wreck his otherwise positive career. I also believe he should be implemented further into the offense, even as a true wideout. Back in 2007/2008 people were preaching about his receiving potential and now it seems to all be forgotten.
CB: For whatever reason Roscoe fell out of favor with the previous coaching staff. What you cannot deny is he is one of the most successful return men in league history. His punt return average is the only proof you need. Many observers for years have been of the belief that you could create a package of plays for Roscoe within the scope of an offense to take advantage of his separation abilities, and I’m in that group.
What encourages me is Chan Gailey knows how to maximize players’ strengths and I anticipate him doing this with Parrish on offense. So let’s hope for the best for Parrish.
2 – Dear Chris,
I’m very excited about the 3-4 switch the Bills are going to use this season but I’m a little confused. I would like to think I know a little more than average about football styles and such but I have never figured out exactly what the different techniques are for d-linemen. I previously read that M. Stroud would be an ideal 5 technique player like R. Seymour, but I have no clue what that means. I’ve heard of 2 and 3 techniques, also. Can you help me out here? Also, I hear that people say the LBs we have are not good enough for the 3-4 but I think that Posluszny and Mitchell would be fine in it. What do they mean they wouldn’t and do you think they are good enough to play in it?
Thanks for the help,
Jim (Niles, Ohio)
CB: Posluszny and Mitchell are two of the better fits on the roster with respect to the LB position in the 3-4. I see them lining up next to one another as the ILBs. With respect to the “technique” descriptions they’re all based on the alignment of the defensive lineman.
For example if a nose tackle is lined head up on a center he’s playing a zero technique (the technique is his alignment).
As a defensive lineman moves further away from center in his alignment the number of his technique goes up. So if a defensive lineman lines up on the outside shade of the center he’s playing a one technique, if he’s head up on a guard it’s a two technique, outside shade of the guard, three technique and so on. The numbers go all the way up to a nine technique, which is the outside shade of the tight end. Hope that helps.
3 – Hey Chris,
I was wondering what you think the Bills will be getting in the area of compensatory picks? I know that we did not get any last year but with this past year’s losses in free agency (Jabari Greer in particular who just won a Super Bowl), what type of picks will the Bills probably be looking at? How does the compensatory picks system work? What is the earliest round in which compensatory picks are available? With all of the holes on the roster and the switch to a 3-4 now making defense a bigger priority, I feel that we can use as many picks as possible for either players or trade bait.
Thanks a lot,
CB: I regret to inform you that it’s unlikely that the Bills will be getting any compensatory picks. The exact formula for determining compensatory picks is not known, but to even begin to qualify a team must have a net loss of free agents. Players that are cut (e.g. Langston Walker) do not count in that equation. Size of contract signed by a free agent with another team (e.g. Jabari Greer) is a part of the equation, along with playing time and postseason honors, but only if a net loss of free agents happened first. Also not every free agent lost or signed is covered by the formula.
The Bills did not have a net loss of free agents last offseason. They were even. On occasion if there is enough disparity between the value of the contracts of the players the Bills signed to the value of the contracts signed by the players they lost, a 7th round pick can be awarded, but it does not happen often.
A compensatory pick guru known only as AdamJT13 has his own site that very accurately predicts what teams will and will not get compensatory picks. Here is his assessment of what he foresees for Buffalo.
Buffalo — The Bills signed two qualifying players and lost two qualifying players, so they will not receive a true comp pick. There is an outside chance that the Bills will receive a “net value” comp pick at the end of the seventh round if the players they lost have a combined value that is sufficiently more than the combined value of the players they signed. Whether that is the case will be determined by the final values of the players involved.
Compensatory picks should be announced on day two of the league meetings, which is March 22nd.
4 – Hi Chris,
I’m curious what do you think the chances are that the Bills trade the 9Th pick and move back in the draft to get more picks? Specifically the Seahawks at 14, Cardinals at 26, and the Vikings at 30 all have questions at QB, what are the chances that any of these teams want to trade up and get one of the first round QB’s, or any other teams that you could see want to trade up and what could we get in return.
CB: I think trading down is a much greater possibility than trading up. If the Seahawks still haven’t addressed their QB position long term behind Hasselback via free agency (Derek Anderson visiting), then they’re likely to address it with their pick at 6, so trading up from 14 is kind of a moot point. In fact they’ll probably go OT at 14 if they go QB at 6.
Yes, the Cards are looking for a QB alternative to Leinart, who lacks the quick release to run the offense the same way they did with Warner. He just doesn’t process stuff as quickly as Warner did. I think they too however, look the veteran QB route (had Derek Anderson visit as well).
The Vikings are simply holding out hope that Favre returns. Otherwise they may push hard for McNabb since they run the same offense and Childress used to coach McNabb in Philly on offense.
So that being said, I don’t see any of those teams looking to make a big move up the board to get a QB, and it’s unlikely that Bradford or Clausen are there at 9 anyway. I think Bradford is the first pick, which increases the likelihood that Clausen is gone by pick 6 to Seattle as Pete Carroll has had a close relationship with Clausen since he was in high school (in the state of California).
5 – Hey Chris, I’m a grad student down at Penn State and have seen a lot of Jared Odrick, and he seems to be a really good player. I think that he would be worth a late 1st round, early second round pick. Do you think he would be a good NT? What do you think the odds are of the Bills being able to pick him up, whether they take him at rd 2, pick 9 or trade up/down for him?
CB: I like Odrick a lot. I was hopeful that somehow, some way he’d slip to the Bills at 41 in round two, but that is unlikely to happen. He can play both the nose and end in the 3-4. He’s a versatile kid and he plays 100 mph. If they trade down from 9 into the 20’s I think it’s possible, otherwise he’ll be playing for some other 3-4 team. A really solid player as I see it.
Tags: Chan Gailey, compensatory picks, Fan Friday, Jared Odrick, Kawika Mitchell, Marcus Stroud, Paul Posluszny, Roscoe Parrish
Posted in Inside the Bills