Our NFL Combine coverage presented by NAPA Auto Parts continues today from Indianapolis both on Buffalobills.com and on the John Murphy Show. For now here are your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.
1 – Dear Chris,
First off, I’d like to say I appreciate everything you do to keep us Bills die hards informed during the off season.
My question is with a lot of needs to be addressed and not too much cap room to use in free agency do you see the bills trading down in the draft to acquire more draft picks? You keep hearing how deep the draft class is so I feel trading down will help us address a lot of our needs.
Thank you again for everything you do,
Dave G from Niagara Falls
CB: It’s interesting that you bring this up because I just asked GM Doug Whaley about that very possibility in our 1-on-1 interview on Buffalobills.com, which I made a note of in our Bills Daily Dish this morning out here at the NFL Combine.
Whaley said he’s open to adding picks if the opportunity presents itself. You’re right that with a tight cap Buffalo has to make the most of their draft picks, but right now they have just six (no seventh). So while I think they’d like to stay in the first round I don’t think they’d be opposed to moving back a few spots if it meant adding to their lot of selections.
Their cap situation is going to be pretty restrictive so adding picks to add players in what is considered a draft deep in value rather than elite talent behooves the Bills to look for deals that can land them more draft choices. And we all know Doug Whaley isn’t afraid to make a deal.
2 – Chris
I need your keen insight. This seems to be a good year for drafting a QB, I’m concerned if we pass at 19, when we get a chance at 51, the good ones will be gone ?? If many of the top ones don’t go in first 18, Dallas, Cleveland , San Diego, Rams, Saints etc. will grab one. My biggest fear is the Jets and Patriots draft one after us. A lot of top QB’s are aging out.
Could we sign Tyrod to a 4 year contract, if we hit on one, we will be primed to continue to win ??
CB: I think you might be getting a little carried away. Doug Whaley has stated more than once that while there isn’t a lot of top end, elite QB talent in this draft there is very good depth at the position for talent that he feels offers enough to develop some prospects into eventual starters. That’s a perfect scenario knowing it’s very likely that Tyrod Taylor gets an extension from the Bills after a promising first season in 2015.
That’s why I expect the Bills to wait until the middle rounds to draft a quarterback. There will be good talent in rounds three to five that can be brought along behind Taylor. I don’t get the sense that Buffalo will strike early at QB unless someone falls into their lap that they weren’t expecting.
Rounds 3-5 look like the window where picking a QB is most likely to occur based on how their draft board shakes out.
3 – Hi Chris,
Thank you for constantly keeping us informed over the off season.
My question is about Lesean McCoy’s contract, but also all contracts in general when it comes to the league’s personal conduct policies. If you are in violation of something and face suspension, or do something that hurts the team’s image, can that player be released without any salary or can penalty to the team? And to be more direct, can the Bills release LeSean McCoy over this incident if he is found to be at fault?
CB: To my knowledge a team would not be off the hook in terms of the salary cap hit that cutting or releasing a player like LeSean McCoy would leave behind. As I understand it a player must have a morality clause in their contract that specifically states what kind of behavior would render their contract with an NFL club null and void.
As the team has stated though we should let the investigation play itself out because there are an awful lot of conflicting reports being circulated out there as to what really happened.
4 – Hey Chris’
I read an article that the Bills even with the estimated increase of the cap for the next league year expected to jump to $155 mill that the Bills are still over with the contracts they have, & the article outlines how they can free up about $27 mill of cap space by cutting some other players & or redoing their contracts.
Another way that could free up some cap space is if the Bills were to try & re-work Kyle Williams current contract. Do you think that Kyle might be willing to do so given the fact that he is coming off an injury & he is in the later stages of his career.
Many teams good at keeping a team good would probably cut someone like Kyle say if it were the Pats just to continue building for the future. So I would think it would be a good thing for both if Kyle could finish his career here in Buffalo but maybe do it at a home town discounted price. That could quite possibly put the Bills into the $30 mill + range of cap space enough to sign Glenn, Incognito, Gilmore, & Bradham to long term contracts …
Thanks for your insight !
Mr. T formally from Fort Myers now in Nashville
CB: While I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bills approached Kyle about renegotiating again (they tacked another year on his deal last offseason) they’re limited in what they can do to get his cap figure down short of having him take an outright pay cut. He’s 32-years old and has a cap figure of $8M. He’s still a productive player, but injuries have been catching up with him. At the same time his leadership is valuable as evidenced by what happened to the defense after he left the lineup in Week 6.
It’ll be a tricky situation, but hopefully with as good as the Bills have been to him over the years he might be willing to reduce his salary a bit to help the cause. We’ll see if it’s a road the Bills choose to travel.
The good news is they’ve already made some salary cap headway by getting Charles Clay restructured, which we reported last night, and moved their unused cap space from 2015 in the amount of $4.4M to 2016.
5 – Chris,
There is lots of discussion about acquiring a possible #2 WR to play opposite Sammy Watkins, but no mention of using Dez Lewis in that role. He has the height (6′ 4″) and plenty of speed. Was the coaching staff still very unsure about him at the end of the 2015 season, or is he a real possibility for the #2 spot, especially if he builds up his strength during the offseason?
CB: While I think Lewis will get a good look from the staff this offseason and in training camp, he’s really got to come on and play more consistently to make a jump that far up the depth chart. I know a lot of people weren’t overly impressed with Robert Woods season last year, but you need to remember the guy played hurt with a torn groin for almost the final three quarters of the season. His separation ability was greatly hindered by that injury. I’m interested to see how he comes back from that injury in 2016 before we start actively looking for other options there.
And at this point there are some other options now on the roster like Greg Little and Jarrett Boykin that will bear watching.
Tags: 2016 NFL draft, Dezmin Lewis, Doug Whaley, Fan Friday, Kyle Williams, LeSean McCoy, Robert Woods, Salary cap, Tyrod Taylor
Posted in Inside the Bills
Bills WR Robert Woods has been battling a nagging groin injury lately and on Sunday it became a severe injury that could cost him the last two games this season.
“Robert Woods, he had a groin injury – safe to say pretty severe one – there’s a possibility this could end his season,” said head coach Rex Ryan.
Ryan admitted there’s a chance that Woods could land on injured reserve with the injury with just two games left to play this season. Buffalo’s head coach hinted that practice squad rookie WR Dezmin Lewis could be called up if Woods is move to I-R.
“Probably a good chance of that,” Ryan said. “The young man’s done a nice job on our practice squad so I think that would be a real possibility if indeed Robert goes on I-R.”
Woods finished Sunday’s game with four catches for 44 yards.
Meanwhile LB Randell Johnson’s season may also be over after he suffered a high ankle sprain in Sunday’s game.
Tags: Dezmin Lewis, Randell Johnson, Rex Ryan, Robert Woods
Posted in Inside the Bills
Bills seventh-round pick Dezmin Lewis has never had a problem picking up a new playbook. He has felt comfortable this weekend in rookie minicamp with all the play installs on offense for team work. Where he’s trying to nail down details is with his route running.
“I go up and get the ball at its highest point. I catch everything with my hands. I’m not much of a body catcher. The main thing now is just working on my route running and continue to become a better route runner so I can upgrade my game to something more than just a go getter.”
Lewis caught a lot of deep balls at Central Arkansas, but he knows he has to diversify his game if he’s to stick at the NFL level. He’s been working closely with receivers coach Sanjay Lal to make his game more well rounded. Job number one for a tall receiver like Lewis is to work on effectively dropping his weight to get him in and out of cuts and stems on his routes.
Coach Lal has been in his ear about one detail in particular.
“Staying low,” Lewis told Buffalobills.com. “I’m a tall receiver and as soon as I take off I pop straight up so he’s been coaching me. He said to act like there’s a string that’s tied to my chest and he’s pulling me. So my objective is to stay low throughout my entire route. That’s the main thing I’ve been working on.”
Lewis knows it’s just about body control, but it’s easier said than done for a receiver that stands 6-4. But coach Lal has given him some ways to perfect dropping his weight when he has to change direction and to help him keep his weight over his toes.
“It’s just body control,” he said. “He tells me to practice leaning as far as I can and balance myself on one foot. And wherever I’m comfortable that’s the base that I have to work off of. So it’s body control and torqueing my body into different positions so I can become a better route runner.”
Coach Lal also has his receivers review their own work in practice.
“The good thing about that is coach Lal goes over the routes and he tells us to critique ourselves,” said Lewis. “We’ll do that and tell him what we think we’re doing wrong and then correct us from there.”
Tags: Bills rookie minicamp, Dezmin Lewis, Sanjay Lal
Posted in Inside the Bills