Inside The Bills

Patriots extend Gillislee offer sheet

Posted by Chris Brown on April 18, 2017 – 2:00 pm

According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport the New England Patriots have extended Bills restricted free agent RB Mike Gillislee to an offer sheet.

Per Rapoport it’s a two-year deal worth $6.4M.

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The Bills now have five days to match the offer to keep Gillislee in Buffalo. If they choose not to match the offer the Bills would be compensated with New England’s fifth-round pick.

Buffalo tendered Gillislee with an original round tender last month. Gillislee rushed for 577 yards on 101 carries to average 5.7 yards per rush and was second on the team among non-kickers in scoring behind LeSean McCoy with nine total touchdowns.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Factors in decision on Groy

Posted by Chris Brown on March 15, 2017 – 8:01 am

The L.A. Rams offer sheet to Ryan Groy was signed by the restricted free agent Tuesday. The reported terms are two years, $5M with a reported $3.5M guaranteed. It will be interesting to see the Bills course of action. Here are some factors that could impact the decision to match or not to match.

Buffalo recently tried to lure free agent OT Andre Smith to sign with them, but he has chosen to re-sign with the club that drafted him, Cincinnati. Do the anticipated dollars devoted to a hopeful Smith signing now get partially allocated to match the offer sheet signed by Groy?

Groy is a versatile asset for an offensive line. He can play center, guard or even tackle in a pinch. He proved himself more than capable in the final seven starts at center last season.

Perhaps even more important, Eric Wood is entering the final year of his contract and will be a free agent following the 2017 season. Wood is only 30-years old and can certainly play a few more years, but Groy is a fairly sizable investment decision that must be made by the club.

Buffalo does have a backup center in Patrick Lewis, but he’s strictly a center as most with a trained eye see him. 

We’ll know in a few days.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

For Ducasse Bills top run game was attractive

Posted by Chris Brown on March 13, 2017 – 3:04 pm

There were some clear factors that convinced Bills new guard Vladimir Ducasse that Buffalo was the place to sign in free agency. One that had him most enthused was the Bills top ranked rushing attack.

“That got me excited,” Ducasse said. “A guy like me, my strength is the running game. On the offensive line in the NFL you have to pass block too, but my strength is the run game. So seeing this and the great running backs they have and a good quarterback it got me excited to come here. Those guys mean business they’re running the ball and when you can run the ball a lot of good things can happen.”

Ducasse admitted that he and his Baltimore teammates last season watched a lot of Buffalo game tape because they ran the ball so well.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Lorenzo on why Buffalo

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2017 – 4:17 pm

Bills free agent LB Lorenzo Alexander made a point of sharing his desire to be back in Buffalo. On Saturday he agreed to terms with the Bills and explained why he wanted to return to Buffalo. 

“At this point in my career I definitely want to be settled in one spot and Buffalo being the great football city that it is, obviously the fan base and the whole community embraced me last year, I definitely wanted to come back here, said Alexander. “I really appreciated the Pegulas, Doug Whaley and Sean McDermott expressing their feelings about me as a player on and off the field. Anytime you have a relationship that you do like that, you definitely want to come back and finish it off. 

“From my understanding, I’m 34 and it’s definitely a blessing to be able to continue to play at this age, still be in the NFL, and I’m just excited to get back with my teammates. I was actually joking with Kyle Williams that, technically, he’s still the oldest player until I sign the deal. But just being around guys like that and having a good time as I finish out, I’m looking forward to it and hopefully we can bring the city a playoff team and hopefully be able to play for a championship.”

Alexander was a valuable part of the leadership contingent in Buffalo’s locker room last year. Head coach Sean McDermott has made a point of retaining or bringing in leaders in his first year with the Bills. 


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Fan Friday 3-10

Posted by Chris Brown on March 10, 2017 – 11:06 am

Free agency is up and running! Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you think that the signing of Micah Hyde rules out a Safety in the first round of this year’s draft?

Chris Devaney
@cdevaney

CB: While that would seem logical I don’t know that you can make that conclusion knowing the draft approach of the Bills under GM Doug Whaley. They typically go with the best player on the board having seen them operate the last few years in the draft room. So I don’t think it precludes them from taking a safety in round one if the value is right.

That being said, if they have grades on two players who are really close and one is a safety and the other is a corner or receiver then they’d likely go with the greater positional need.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills with the departure of Lynn and Roman why do the #Bills still continue to throw free agent $$ at the FB position?

Ryan Coyle
@rcoyle76

CB: I’m going to let coach McDermott handle this one since he answered it directly at his press conference Thursday evening.

“Fullback is a big part of this offense, and let’s say this: it’s not limited to playing the fullback position,” said McDermott. “There’s versatility within that position, and what Mike brings to the table – as you mentioned, Mike Tolbert. I had the chance to be around Mike for a number of years in Carolina and I know what he brings to the table in terms of leadership, intangibles again, and what happens in that locker room on Monday through Saturday.

“So that’s a big part of it, and then Mike’s versatility on the field with the ability to play fullback, line up at fullback and then also transition to the halfback position and carry the football, and he’s done that extremely well. I had a front-row seat to observe what Mike’s skill set is, both on and off the field, and that was key for us. You’re talking about a guy that’s been to a Pro Bowl, and that’s really no different to [Patrick] DiMarco, in this case.”

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills do you see the #bills signing more big name free agents? If so, at what position?

Dale Griswold
@dale_griswold

CB: I don’t necessarily expect big household type names. Their cap situation is getting a bit tight. But I do see them trying to fill a few more positional holes on the roster. It wouldn’t surprise me if receiver or offensive tackle were on the list after incurring some losses at receiver and some uncertainty at tackle (Mills a free agent, Henderson-health).

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills How do you think the Bills are going to adress the WR position? They lost talent there the past two offseasons and it hasn’t been replaced.

Ben
@bufbillsthought

CB: As briefly mentioned above I expect the Bills to address the receiver position in some form in free agency, likely with a player they can sign to a fiscally responsible contract (one that doesn’t cripple their cap situation). And I would anticipate them trying to grab another in the draft.

The numbers situation there demands some attention with two free agent losses already (Woods, Goodwin).

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills Is Groy a realistic option for Right Tackle? #bills

Bill Carr
@billcarr_10

CB: Donald Jones and I discussed this very topic when I was on the John Murphy Show Thursday. I think we first need to see what additions are made if any at the offensive tackle position in free agency or the draft before we can gauge just what kind of option he would be on the edge.

From a skill standpoint I think he certainly has the size (6-5, 320) and ability to play on the edge. He’s lined up there at times in a pinch. Sometimes it was as an overload tackle in run formations. We all know he can play guard or center. Whether Groy can play right tackle full time for 16 games is a question really only OL coach Juan Castillo and the offensive staff can answer knowing this offense is going to change.

I think Groy really came a long way as a player last season and he impressed me in his last seven games at center. But I think we need to let the dust settle in free agency and see what the Bills acquire before we pencil him in for edge duty.

 

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Long term deal w/Gillislee the goal

Posted by Chris Brown on March 3, 2017 – 11:08 am

The representatives for Bills restricted free agent RB Mike Gillislee have reportedly opened talks with the Bills to get a long term agreement done.

That according to DraftAnalyst.com’s Tony Pauline, who reported the following.

The Buffalo Bills are meeting with representatives for running back Mike Gillislee, and both sides hope to hammer out a long-term extension. I’m told the ball carrier, who finished with 577 yards and eight touchdowns last season, is hopeful he can play in Buffalo the rest of his career.

A long term deal makes sense for both sides. It gives Gillislee more job security than a one-year restricted tender would. If structured properly a long-term deal could offer more cap friendly figures not only this year, but in future years depending on the length of the contract.

Gillislee proved himself as a capable backup to LeSean McCoy last season and earned the moniker ‘Touchdown Mike’ as he had a nose for the end zone.

To this point the Bills have not extended qualifying tender offers to any of their restricted free agents, which includes OL Ryan Groy and P Colton Schmidt. It would not be surprising if the Bills tried to reach a long term deal with Groy as well. He played admirably in Eric Wood’s absence over the final seven games last year.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Bears to take a run at Gilmore

Posted by Chris Brown on March 2, 2017 – 6:59 pm

A day after Bills head coach Sean McDermott indicated that Stephon Gilmore would reach the free agent market, there’s a report that the Chicago Bears will be loading up to try to get him under contract when the market opens March 9th.

That according to the Chicago Tribune. With more than $50 million in cap space the Bears are expected to be aggressive early players in the market. Whether they can meet Gilmore’s asking price, which is expected to be around $15M a year, remains to be seen.

The Bills said they would monitor Gilmore’s situation as he hit the market. Other clubs can begin negotiating with the agent for prospective free agents on Tuesday March 7th, but deals cannot be consummated until March 9th.

Chicago is also said to be targeting Tampa Bay free agent Mike Glennon as an answer at quarterback.


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Rams WR Britt to hit free agent market

Posted by Chris Brown on March 2, 2017 – 2:34 pm

The L.A. Rams have free agent decisions to make on their roster just like every other NFL team. One of the key free agents on their roster is WR Kenny Britt, who posted his first career 1,000-yard season in 2016 despite being in a poor passing attack. On Thursday, Rams GM Les Snead confirmed that Britt will not be re-signed before the free agent market opens on March 9th.

“Kenny should fit in any offense, but we do expect him to test free agency,” said Snead. “And I do know that we’re 32 in offense and we do need to improve. So we’re going through that right now in, hey, what type of skill does (head coach) Sean (McVay) need to get us better than 32.”

We listed Britt as a potential free agent fit for the Bills in an early look at free agency.


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Fan Friday 2-24

Posted by Chris Brown on February 24, 2017 – 11:32 am

The NFL Combine commences next week. We’ll have full coverage here on Buffalobills.com from Indy. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – How does the Bills present personnel stack up for going back to a 4-3 defense?  Presumably Dareus and Kyle Williams would be the tackles, but are the other defensive linemen currently on the roster suitable to play end in a 4-3, and how do the current linebackers fit such a scheme?

Duane Tananbaum

CB: It’s my contention that the personnel is better suited to a 4-3 defensive front, especially the defensive linemen. Dareus and Kyle will be given the opportunity to get up the field and penetrate. Shaq Lawson said he prefers a 4-3 scheme since that’s what he played in at Clemson. Jerry Hughes has had his most productive seasons as a Bills player in a 4-3 scheme.


2 –
Dear Chris:

With the hiring of Leslie Frazier as defensive coordinator, do you think we’ll be running his defense or McDermott’s with Frazier calling the plays? I know both are DCs and don’t want “to many cooks in the kitchen” again like last year. Also do you know if Kyle Williams likes these guys enough to comeback.

John S.

CB: I think one of the main reasons that Leslie Frazier was so attractive to McDermott as a candidate is because there is a good amount of carry over between the two schemes they’ve employed over the years. It’s my belief that it will be more of McDermott’s approach that will be implemented in Buffalo.

And as far as too many cooks in the kitchen, that won’t be an issue. McDermott is extremely thorough and any and all duties and responsibilities will be clearly spelled out for everyone on the staff.

Kyle had positive comments on McDermott after he spoke with him a couple of times by phone. Hopefully it’s enough to convince to keep playing.

3 – Chris,

If Aaron Williams can’t make it back next season and decides to retire, will the Bills see any kind of cap relief from his contract?

Thanks,
Tom

CB: He’d be a cap savings of just over $1.7M if he retired. That wouldn’t be much on a projected cap of $168.1M.

 

4 – CB
Besides QB, there are few positions groups lacking depth or set to be free agents. How do you think the team will address CB, S, right tackle, OLB, and WR. Gilmore, Woods and possibly Zach Brown will command money and I’m not sure they can be retained.

It seems a large task for Whaley to fill positions with so many free agents. The Bills will have to spend money to retain players. Which positions will be filled during the draft or free agency. How aggressive will they be during free agency to find players that fit the new coaches’ scheme?

Josh P.

CB: I think as they have done in years past they’ll be fiscally prudent in signing free agents. They’ll stay away from the high-priced players that are in high demand and focus on the tier two type players that are more affordable and offer better value.

I put together a list of potential free agent fits last week.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills As much as I LOVE the top 10 talent in the draft, should we trade down to get more picks?

Love your insight, Thanks!

Charlee DeGeorge
@CharleeDegeorge

CB: Thanks for the kind words. I’d be in favor of trading back and collecting more picks. The Bills did a good job of that in 2013 when they traded back in round one and got Kiko Alonso out of the deal in round two. I think the likelihood of that happening will hinge on how the picks fall in front of Buffalo at 10, not only in terms of the prospects the Bills like who may or may not be there, but for other NFL teams with a prospect in mind looking to get up to 10.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Alexander camp sets wide contract parameters

Posted by Chris Brown on February 15, 2017 – 10:44 am

Bills free agent Lorenzo Alexander has said more than once that he’d like to be back in Buffalo next season, but understands in the NFL there are no guarantees. He also believes he’s proven over his career that he’s versatile and can fit any defensive system, knowing that Buffalo’s defensive scheme is expected to change… again. His agent also set the contract parameters in terms of annual salary.

Alexander’s agent Peter Schaffer told CBSSports.com’s Jason LaCanfora that he’s anticipating a wide range following Alexander’s Pro Bowl season with Buffalo.

LaCanfora quoted Alexander’s agent as saying that he expects the veteran linebacker to land “between $5 million and $10 million per year” on a short-term free agent deal.

He explained that the very wide range is due to the unique circumstance that Alexander’s age (33) and production (12.5) present.

Whether the Bills have a contract offer in mind that falls somewhere within that average annual range remains to be seen.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-10

Posted by Chris Brown on February 10, 2017 – 11:32 am

Into the offseason we go. Franchise and transition tag window opens next week with the NFL Combine and free agency on the horizon. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills rank the following in likelihood from high to low. Romo, tyrod, rookie qb, someone else not mentioned starting.

Jonathan Yedin
@jonyedi

CB: I’m going to put Tyrod first on this list only because he’s on the roster and under contract. Right now he’s the path of least resistance. He’s an asset that’s already here. A lot of national reporters are operating under the assumption that he’s as good as gone. I don’t subscribe to that contention. I believe it could go either way.

A rookie quarterback is a distinct possibility because regardless of what happens with Tyrod Taylor the team will have to add at the position. Obviously if the team moves on from Tyrod it would only increase the likelihood of that happening, and then this would move to the top of the list in terms of likelihood. But even if Taylor remains a Bill, EJ Manuel is a free agent. They’ll probably need another arm.

Romo is probably more likely to end up in Chicago, Houston or even Kansas City. At age 37 and with a long injury history it’s not an investment that looks all that attractive. There’s no denying his talent and his won-loss record, but at this point in his career the risk seems higher than the reward.


2 –
@ChrisBrownBills Tyrod unwilling to take a pay cut (don’t blame him), does that cement his dismissal?

Lyndsey D’Arcangelo
@darcangel21

CB: The reports that Tyrod is unwilling to restructure his deal with the Bills makes sense. First, despite the popular opinion that his contract is cost prohibitive, Taylor would be tied for 16th among starting quarterbacks in terms of average salary if the Bills pick up his option.

The past two seasons Taylor has finished seventh and ninth in Total QBR (ESPN metric).

Business-wise Taylor knows in a thin free agent quarterback market that he would be at the top of the free agent list if he was released by Buffalo, where he could potentially sign an even larger contract than the one he has with Buffalo.

Does it cement his dismissal?

I think that’s a strong way to paint the situation. While a lot of NFL business decisions are made because of money, I think the bigger factor in this particular decision is the collective opinion of the Bills front office in terms of whether they believe they can do better at the position than Taylor.

The front office has understandably been tight lipped on that subject.

That doesn’t mean money won’t be a factor. It’s probably 1A. But you have to be convinced that your product on the field can be more consistent and productive with someone besides Taylor. Then the next step is determining if that someone you have in mind is an asset you can realistically acquire.


3 –
@ChrisBrownBills You’re in charge on Draft Day. Do you take QB Trubisky or WR Williams?

Jimmy
@ItsjustJimmy

CB: This is a pretty easy decision to make based on what I think will happen in the draft. Of course as I’ve mentioned in this column before we’ve yet to see what’s acquired by the Bills in free agency. That could change their approach in the draft.

But in an effort to provide an answer I will say that this quarterback class does not appear to possess more than one prospect who is going to help a team on the field this year.

Trubisky is probably the closest thing and he’s a quarterback who couldn’t get on the field before this past season. All that being said I don’t think Trubisky falls out of the top three picks. Cleveland, San Francisco or Chicago all need quarterbacks, so one of them will take him off the board long before Buffalo is on the clock.

Going under the likely scenario that he’s off the board my preference in this particular draft is to wait on drafting a quarterback. None of the other QB prospects are NFL ready and that will continue to be a trend with the college game separating further and further from the NFL game (no huddling, no audibles, no calling plays). So that would leave me taking Mike Williams at 10 under your parameters.


4 –
@ChrisBrownBills Which RFA’s do you think the #bills will tender and at which comp. level?

Coach
@MoneyAce1984

CB: I think it’s a lock that they tender Mike Gillislee and Ryan Groy. Both had exceptional individual seasons for the Bills last year. In fact I think it wouldn’t be surprising if they tried to sign both players to long term deals to keep their cap figures more manageable.

Colton Schmidt had a bit of an up and down season last year. With a new coaching staff there’s always the chance that they could prefer someone else to Schmidt. Special teams coordinator Danny Crossman is still on the staff so that may help Schmidt’s cause.

The other thing to remember here is tendering Schmidt at the low level does nothing in the way of compensation protection. Schmidt was undrafted, so tendering him at the low level only gives you right of first refusal.

I’d be surprised if IK Enemkpali is tendered a qualifying offer.


5 –
@ChrisBrownBills any time frame on Kyle Williams’ decision on retirement?

Ian Campbell
@comedianian98

CB: When we spoke to Williams at the Pro Bowl it was clear he was still decompressing from the season. He did say he was encouraged by his initial conversations with new head coach Sean McDermott, and it’s clear his teammates are trying to get him to return.

I would anticipate that the club would ask that he make a definitive decision before free agency opens in March.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills FA safety hopes he can give fans playoffs

Posted by Chris Brown on February 8, 2017 – 9:58 am

Veteran free agent S James Ihedigbo only played four games and spent a month and a half with the Bills in Buffalo, but he was so taken by the fans and the city, he hopes to re-sign with the club this offseason.

“The one thing I really liked and my wife will say the same, the people in Buffalo. We played for the Jets and were around the people in New York. New Yorkers are New Yorkers, you love them all, but Buffalo the people are so genuinely nice and arms wide open for us and they really accepted us into the community,” he said. “I definitely look forward to that aspect of it.

“Buffalo has the best fans. To even see when we were leaving the stadium on the last day cleaning out our lockers and there are 50 fans standing out by the gate cheering us on, those are the type of fans you want to play for on Sunday. They deserve to see a winning program and a winning team and I look forward to hopefully help give them that.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-6

Posted by Chris Brown on January 6, 2017 – 11:49 am

We’ve hit the offseason early again Bills fans. No question, it stinks. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills at pick 10 in this year’s draft if we let Tyrod walk do we go qb?

Eddie Barnard
@eddie_barnard

CB: We’re getting way ahead of ourselves here because first the head coach has to be in place, then player evaluations by the new staff will chart the course of who is here and who is not here. But to answer your question, in the event that the new head coach elects to move on from Tyrod Taylor I don’t know that drafting a worthwhile quarterback at 10th overall will happen.

I’m a fan of Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer, but knowing there are QB needy teams in front of Buffalo (San Fran #2, Chicago #3, NY Jets #6) I don’t think he even gets to 10 for the Bills to consider. UNC’s Mitch Trubisky is still up in the air on whether he’s staying in school or entering the draft pool.

Kizer played in a pro-style spread system, had the ability to call audibles at the line of scrimmage and has the physical measurables you look for (6-5, 220). His numbers dropped this past season as the Irish struggled to a 4-8 finish, but it wasn’t all on Kizer. Working with a bunch of first-year receivers after Will Fuller, Chris Brown and C.J. Prosise moved on to the NFL, Kizer still had 26 TDs against 9 INTs, even though his completion percentage dropped five percent.

So while I like Kizer and Trubisky, I don’t anticipate them making it to pick 10 and after them I’m not enamored with what’s left to the point where I would use the 10th pick to take one.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills Is Cardale Jones the starting QB next year?

Jimmy
@ItsjustJimmy

CB: Again this is a ‘predict the future’ question that’s far too difficult to answer. There are too many variables that aren’t even in place to know where Jones will stand on the depth chart. Does the new head coach think he can win with Tyrod Taylor? Does he think Cardale Jones could be part of a quarterback competition in training camp? Does he think Jones could win that competition? Will they be adding at the quarterback position via trade, draft or free agency? Would that quarterback be more NFL ready than Jones, who just saw his first NFL action last week for a quarter?

I think one thing we have to think about is if a new head coach comes in and there’s a new offensive system for Jones to master it’s going to set his development back, as we’ve seen with young quarterbacks here before (e.g. J.P. Losman, Trent Edwards, EJ Manuel).

Let me be clear that I’m not saying the changes on offense were the reasons those quarterbacks struggled to develop, but constant change makes it harder for young quarterbacks to succeed and advance their games. All of them saw coaching changes in their time with the Bills.

Jones will be the next quarterback, even if Anthony Lynn is hired because he inherited an offense this past season that he intends to change.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills Are Bills expected to put tender on Gillislee? What is the tender process, and why don’t teams place highest tender possible?

Patmerica
@PatBle

CB: Restricted free agents are the players teams must decide upon regarding whether to extend them a qualifying offer to retain the right of first refusal, should they be offered a contract from another NFL club.

There are different levels at which a player could be tendered to dissuade other clubs from trying to make a contract offer to lure the player away from their current team.

The new restricted free agent tender levels are usually released by the NFL in early March, though NFL clubs make projections on what the amounts will be.

There is the low tender, which means the compensation due the original club if their RFA player was signed away by another team would equate to the draft round in which they were selected. For Mike Gillislee such a tender would yield a fifth-round pick in return, since Gillislee was a fifth-round pick of the Dolphins (2013).

Last year’s low tender was $1.671 million.

If Buffalo values him as something more than that and they want to make it more prohibitive for another team to sign him away they can use the second-round tender, which would make the compensation a second-round pick if the Bills chose not to match an offer from another team.

Last year’s second-round tender was $2.553 million.

The first-round tender last year was $3.635 million, and carries first-round pick compensation.

I certainly understand your question as to why teams don’t just tender everyone at the highest possible level. Sometimes cap constraints keep teams from doing that. They also want to be careful not to overvalue a player to avoid paying said player more than they would like if a long term contract is a route they want to take.

4 – @ChrisBrownBills Doug Whaley is so unimpressive, do you know how he continues to sell himself to ownership?

PJ Persichini
@PJP3rd

CB: I think what you need to keep in mind is as a fan you only see him in one context, a press conference, question and answer setting. Whether it’s on the radio or on TV you only see Whaley in a Q&A format.

What you don’t see is Whaley’s decisiveness when weighing the value of a trade. You don’t see him in personnel meetings pinpointing positional needs, assessing the talent level of specific players. You don’t see him running draft meetings, the draft room, interacting with players, making tough personnel decisions, finding players on the street at a time when there aren’t many and finding contributors (e.g. Mike Gillislee, Ryan Groy, Justin Hunter).

I know it’s hard to not think about him in the interview context because that’s all the exposure you have to Whaley. Look at the talent he is directly responsible for adding to this roster on the whole and I think you’ll find a lot more hits than misses.

I understand that for a team that has struggled to get wins, the misses are magnified, but there isn’t a GM in this league who has a perfect record. Drafting players is a lot like a batting average. If you hit .400 in landing Pro Bowl type talent in the draft, you’re the equivalent of Ted Williams. You’re in a league of your own. Most quality GMs hit between .300 to .350 in the draft in terms of landing top flight talent that can be the core of your team for years.

The lost piece of the puzzle as I see it for the Bills has been player development by the coaching staffs that have come through Buffalo. The head coaches that have been hired in Buffalo have unfortunately not put the best of coaching staffs together over the years and that has compromised the development of players and maximizing player potential has proven difficult.

That’s not to say there haven’t been good player development coaches over the years. Sanjay Lal, Anthony Lynn and Aaron Kromer are among the best examples on the most recent staff. There are others. Previous assistants that come to mind include Bobby April, Donnie Henderson and Joe D’Alessandris.

Does all this mean that Doug Whaley is blameless? Doug said himself he needs to do a better job. In fact it was one of the first things he said in his press conference Monday. But it’s my personal belief that Doug Whaley is a good personnel man, who knows how to build a team over time and has a plan. We all know the franchise quarterback has been a missing component for some time, and those are hard to find. Other teams that don’t have one have struggled too. Denver lost theirs after winning the Super Bowl and they’re out of the playoffs this year.

Absent that though this roster does have a good deal of talent, and this offseason will provide more opportunity to add to that talent. The key will be hiring a head coach who can implement a vision and structure to unify everyone on the staff and roster to achieve the ultimate goal. Hopefully that new head coach hires the kind of coaching staff that can maximize the talent on hand along with the new talent coming through the door.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills I like Sean McDermott. Do you think he can be a solid leader?

Ronald Krzal Jr

@Ronnie_Krzal

CB: I think knowing the kind of leader a coach can be can only be captured in the kind of long interview sessions that the Bills are conducting now in their coaching search. You can’t look at a resume of offensive or defensive success and determine if a guy is a leader. You’ve got to sit down with a coaching prospect and get to know them to determine that.

Does their philosophy about being a head coach inspire you? Do you think he’s capable of motivating men who have been mired in a culture where the success has been minimal and galvanize them into believing they can do better? Does he come across as a person that people willingly follow and believe in?

Not being in that room I can’t tell you if he can be a solid leader.

I can tell you that I like who he has worked under during his time in the NFL. Andy Reid, Jim Johnson and Ron Rivera are all solid coaching influences. So the people he has worked under is definitely a plus. But that doesn’t qualify Sean McDermott as a solid leader. That’s more about who he is as a person as I see it. And maybe he is that person, but there’s no way for you and I to know that from where we sit.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

With Taylor signed, focus shifts to Gilmore

Posted by Chris Brown on August 17, 2016 – 3:47 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley was very pleased last Friday to announce that Tyrod Taylor had agreed to a multi-year contract agreement. He’s hoping he’ll get another opportunity to make such an announcement with another talented player on Buffalo’s roster.

With Taylor now under contract, Whaley, in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, said the club can focus squarely on 2017 free agent to be Stephon Gilmore.

“It allows us to put all of our focus on Stephon Gilmore,” said Whaley. “It gives us a chance to say we have one piece of the puzzle done. Let’s try to get another piece of the puzzle done. Let’s not forget the fact that we have high profile players and they’re going to command top dollars. So we’re going to have to try our best to get them done. Will we get it done? We hope so, but it’s going to be process just like Tyrod’s contract.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 7-29

Posted by Chris Brown on July 29, 2016 – 11:17 am

Training camp is here Bills fans! The wait is over! Here is the latest edition of your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Worst case scenario, if something were to happen to/with Preston Brown, who would be responsible for relaying or making the defensive calls? Is that player currently being coached or taught to fill in if necessary? Will that player be afforded  the opportunity to make the defensive calls during the preseason games, or are we just supposed to hope that everything works out ok without any problems?
Dr. Dennis

CB: I believe if it’s early in the season Zach Brown would be a primary candidate to step in and run things. If it’s later in the year Brown is probably still the first man in, but rookie Reggie Ragland might be ready at that point to run things. Teams always have backup options.

 

2 – Chris,
How about bringing in Jake Long for training camp for RT where we need help desperately. Any chance of that happening in your opinion? Long appears healthy and if he doesn’t work out then they could release him.

Rick

CB: I don’t anticipate that happening. Long was most recently talking with the Ravens in the wake of the retirement of Eugene Monroe, but reports indicate that Long’s knee is not fit to pass a physical. I think with Seantrel Henderson working his way back from his medical condition the Bills feel they have options.

 

3 – Chris,

Given the Bills are playing Ragland and Brown inside, what role is there for Zach Brown? If teams spread out on passing downs having both on the field would leave the Bills at a disadvantage having two ‘thumpers’. Zach Brown is a better coverage LB than the other two. How will he fit into the defense, considering the similarity of Preston and Reggie’s skill set and the need for coverage LB’s?

Josh

CB: Right now Zach Brown is the third inside linebacker. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Zach Brown stepped onto the field in subpackages for coverage assignments. One of the faster linebackers in the league, Zach Brown would be a good fit against backs and most tight ends on passing downs. That’s where I see his role for Buffalo this year.
4 – Hi Chris,

Any information when/where night practice tickets will be available ?

Thanks
Don Palmere

CB: Here’s where you can find all your night practice info.

 
5 – Hi, Chris.

The Bills lost some depth across the board to free agency, but I think especially in the secondary this year, and I was wondering who are the depth players going to be in the secondary this year.

Thanks,
Ian

CB: I think there is depth at both cornerback and safety with a host of options who have NFL experience at both positions.

Among the candidates who figure to man roles who don’t figure to be starters barring a huge training camp and preseason are players like CB Corey White, CB Sterling Moore, S Jonathan Meeks, S Robert Blanton, S Colt Anderson, S Duke Williams, CB Kevon Seymour and CB Mario Butler. There are others battling too like Jonathan Dowling, Sammy Seamster, Phillip Thomas and Javier Arenas.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Washington may add veteran RB

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2016 – 11:24 am

The Bills have made efforts to sign veteran free agent RB Reggie Bush. Bush has elected to bide his time on a decision and there’s a report today that explains why.

The Washington Post is reporting that Washington may add a veteran running back to their ranks with a lot of youth at the position, especially after they did not return Alfred Morris to the fold for 2016.

“We could [look at free agents],” head coach Jay Gruden told the Washington Post. “If it doesn’t work out, for every position, we count on the scouting staff to check on who’s available, but hopefully we don’t have to go out and do that. If we do, there are going to be good players coming.”

Bush is considered one of the better veteran free agent options at the position. With training camps opening this weekend, there could be even more options for Bush to choose from should there be some injuries at the position across the league.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

One-year deal players aplenty for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2016 – 8:50 am

As the Bills try to see if they can strike a free agent deal with RB Reggie Bush it’s hard not to see the obvious trend Buffalo took when it came to free agents this offseason. The sharp increase in one-year deals for free agents signed by Buffalo was done for good reason, but the number in the 2016 offseason was staggering.

The Bills signed 23 players this offseason to one-year deals between restricted free agents (Corbin Bryant, Jordan Mills), reserve future free agents and unrestricted free agents. From Zach Brown to Corey White almost a third of the team’s 90-man offseason roster signed one-year pacts.

Bills GM Doug Whaley explained the club’s approach.

“I think this year it was wholly predicated on the amount of cap space we had,” Whaley told Buffalobills.com. “What we were looking for was to get guys who had extensive resumes on special teams. A lot of those guys are on one-year prove-it deals. If they’re good maybe they’ll be extended, if not maybe they do enough here where they’ll be able to move on to another team and be a special teams mercenary.”

When it came to defensive free agents, Whaley in concert with head coach Rex Ryan and some recommendations from Rob Ryan acquired players with a measure of familiarity with the Ryan defense. Players like Sterling Moore, Corey White have worked with Rob Ryan before. And being on one-year deals there’s no time to let a player blend himself in steadily.

“Change is uncomfortable for everybody so if you can get a guy that has some familiarity with this defense because it’s a complicated defense, that’s an added bonus,” said Whaley. “A lot of people just can’t step in day one and perform at a high level in this defense because it is so intricate. If you have a guy that’s out there who is familiar with it he’s out there playing instead of thinking.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Boldin to sign with Lions

Posted by Chris Brown on July 26, 2016 – 2:05 pm

With their top veteran receiver Calvin Johnson now retired, the Detroit Lions looks like they’re finally ready to pull the trigger on a deal for veteran free agent WR Anquan Boldin.

That according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who reports that the two sides are finalizing a deal.

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Boldin, 36, had 69 catches last season for the 49ers.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills and RB Bush still talking

Posted by Chris Brown on July 26, 2016 – 1:43 pm

Whether the Bills and free agent RB Reggie Bush are able to consummate a deal remains to be seen, but the lines of communication between the two parties remain open.

Buffalobills.com has learned that the two sides are still talking. Bush seems content to bide his time at this point, no doubt waiting to see if a more favorable opportunity presents itself somewhere else in the league due to injury once training camps open this weekend.

The Bills currently have six running backs on the roster, but Karlos Williams will be lost for the first month of the season due to violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gilmore & Taylor among top 25 2017 free agents

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2016 – 12:06 pm

Call it putting the cart before the horse, but it’s a relatively slow time on the NFL calendar with still a week before NFL training camps open. So ESPN Insider John Clayton ranked the top 25 NFL free agents for 2017 and not surprisingly, a pair of Bills made the list.

Stephon Gilmore and Tyrod Taylor, both of whom are entering the final year of their current contracts, made the top 25 list. Gilmore ranked 25th and Taylor ranked 16th. Here’s what Clayton wrote about each of them.

25. Stephon Gilmore, CB, Buffalo Bills: Gilmore has threatened to hold out of training camp because of his contract. He’s likely to get a big extension from Buffalo.

16. Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills: Taylor proved last season that he can be an above-average starting quarterback. With a big season in 2016, he could get a long-term deal in Buffalo or from another team on the open market.

While the Bills would certainly like to sign both players to long-term extensions, the skewing of the cornerback market by the $15M per year contract signed by Josh Norman complicates things concerning Gilmore. Taylor probably just needs to show progress, boost his production numbers – particularly on third down and in the red zone – and the Bills would be comfortable signing him long term.


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Posted in Inside the Bills