Inside The Bills

Whaley: Planning for key extensions up next

Posted by Chris Brown on May 3, 2016 – 1:50 pm

The NFL draft has been the primary focus for the better part of the last month and a half. Now with the draft in the rearview mirror the focus of Buffalo’s front office shifts to formulating a plan on contract extensions for some of the more important pieces on the Bills roster.

Stephon Gilmore, Cordy Glenn and Tyrod Taylor are three key players who have a year on their contracts. Glenn was a franchise player and signed his tender. Bills GM Doug Whaley, in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportradio 550, said he, along with Senior VP of Football Administration Jim Overdorf, will enact a plan on addressing the contract situation of all three players.

“Negotiations took a hiatus for draft weekend,” he said. “We’ll regroup this week and set a game plan through to the minicamp. I’ll sit down with Jim Overdorf and reach out and see if we can just keep the lines of communication open.”

When asked if the team has a priority list where they want to get one extension done before another, Whaley indicated that they’ll be working to get all three players extended.

“They’re all the same,” he said. “We’re going to try to work as diligently as possible to get all three of those guys (extended). This is where we want to get to. Have good players on our team and then keep them instead of going out into free agency. We’d like to use free agency for the value guys. So when you have potential stars that we’ve drafted or acquired and they’re on our roster now, why not throw the money at those guys?”

Whaley said he’s “supremely confident” they can fit all three players on extensions under their salary cap heading into 2017 where the Bills right now have more than $50M in cap space. The only player with a true deadline on the horizon is Glenn. He signed his franchise tender, but he and the Bills have until July 15th to negotiate a long term deal, which would replace the current one-year guaranteed contract.

Gilmore and Taylor have until next March before they could even negotiate with anyone but Buffalo.


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Jets kicking tires on free agent QB Hoyer

Posted by Chris Brown on April 19, 2016 – 8:46 am

The Jets are still at an impasse with free agent QB Ryan Fitzpatrick on terms of a contract extension, so they’re taking a look at the quarterback who ultimately replaced him following his year in Houston.

According to ProFootballTalk, the Jets are hosting QB Brian Hoyer for a free agent visit today (Tuesday). Hoyer, just released by the Texans, wound up replacing Fitzpatrick after a disastrous year at quarterback for the Texans following their trade of Fitzpatrick to the Jets.

There is speculation that the Hoyer visit is just posturing by the Jets to get Fitzpatrick to move off his contract demand numbers. Ironically, Houston has been part of the problem all along with Fitz’s contract demands as their mega-contract for free agent Brock Osweiler last month (4 yrs. $72M) after he made just seven career starts has turned the market value for second tier quarterbacks on its ear.

Now Houston may have also provided the Jets with a stop gap solution for 2016 in the form of Hoyer.


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CB Moore had pick 6 in 2 INT game vs. Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 5, 2016 – 3:39 pm

Bills newest CB Sterling Moore has one game that stands out above just about all the other ones in his NFL career. He had a two-interception performance against the Bills when he was a subpackage cornerback for the New England Patriots.

Moore’s first interception came on a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass over the middle (as seen below) and the second came on a pass to the right flat intended for David Nelson that he returned for a 21-yard touchdown. I elected not to put footage of the interception return for a TD here knowing some of this may be hard to watch since it’s New England. But here’s Moore’s first pick in that game. Just remind yourself he’s on Buffalo’s roster now. You’ll feel better.

 


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Tyrod’s tackler in Tennessee was LB Brown

Posted by Chris Brown on April 5, 2016 – 2:14 pm

On Monday the Bills signed free agent LB Zach Brown to address a need at inside linebacker. Brown comes to Buffalo with a dubious distinction from his play last season as it pertained to the Bills fortunes in 2015.

Brown is the Tennessee Titans linebacker who was responsible for injuring QB Tyrod Taylor on his 23-yard scramble for a first down in the 14-13 win in Nashville last season. Taylor suffered a sprained MCL on the play, though he finished the game.

Appearing on the John Murphy Show, Brown said it was never his intent to injure Taylor’s knee on the play.

“I remember that game,” Brown said. “I was guarding Clay and I just happened to turn around and I saw him running and I said to myself let me get him down before he got the first down. I rolled up on the back of his knee.”

Brown was flagged for a horse collar tackle on the play even though he did not horse collar tackle Taylor. Brown grabbed more of Taylor’s name plate on the back of his jersey, which now under a new NFL rule will be deemed a penalty.

“That’s where that new rule came from,” said Brown. “You can’t grab anybody by the name plate anymore. Tyrod is a real good scrambler. He can get out of sticky situations. With him you’ve got to keep him in the pocket. He can throw too, but when he can run he’s a dangerous guy because he’s very fast.”

Taylor would miss the next two games, two games that Buffalo would lose against Cincinnati and Jacksonville.

 


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Official: Miami signs TE Gray

Posted by Chris Brown on March 31, 2016 – 8:38 pm

Another former Bills player is headed to division rival Miami.

Free agent TE MarQueis Gray has signed a contract with the Dolphins according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Update: The Dolphins have since CJ firmed the Gray signing. 

Gray was Buffalo’s No. 2 tight end last year, but his season was cut short by a forearm injury that required surgery and landed him on injured reserve.

The tight end was a restricted free agent, but the Bills chose not to extend Gray a qualifying offer to retain his rights thereby making him a free agent.

Gray is the third former Bill to sign with the Dolphins this offseason joining Mario Williams and Kraig Urbik.


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Report: Harvin “definitely” playing, but where?

Posted by Chris Brown on March 31, 2016 – 8:20 am

The Buffalo Bills have been extremely patient with WR Percy Harvin as he took months to mull over whether he wanted to continue his playing career following a very frustrating 2015 season when a chronic hip problem never improved despite exhausting all treatment options. Now he reportedly has made the decision to play in 2016. The question that remains is who will he decide to suit up for in the fall?

According to Pro Football Talk, Harvin will “definitely” play football in 2016. Buffalo has a standing offer for Harvin if he wants to return. Per PFT there are offers from other teams as well. What Harvin is waiting for is unclear. If there was one offer that far outweighed the others in terms of money he likely would’ve signed already.

Perhaps the Harvin camp is hoping that this report would beat the NFL bushes a bit and prompt a new team to enter the mix and make an offer that’s just a bit better than what’s available to him now.

Harvin would likely re-assume the number two receiver role in Buffalo should he re-sign with the Bills, the same role he held heading into last season before his hip injury became a major issue.


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OT Jordan Mills officially re-signs 

Posted by Chris Brown on March 30, 2016 – 5:02 pm

Bills restricted free agent OT Jordan Mills has re-signed with the club. 

Mills was extended a qualifying offer by the Bills earlier this month giving Buffalo the right of first refusal. 

Now that Mills has signed the offer he ensures he will be with the Bills for the 2016 season. 

Mills, who started the last five games of the season at right tackle, is expected to compete with Seantrel Henderson for the starting job on that side of Buffalo’s starting offensive line. 


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Ryan: Holes must be filled in draft

Posted by Chris Brown on March 30, 2016 – 1:44 pm

Buffalo lost a handful of players from their roster this offseason. Some were released by choice, while others signed elsewhere as free agents. Some of the biggest losses came on the defensive side of the ball where starters like Mario Williams and Nigel Bradham signed with other clubs. When it comes to filling some of those holes head coach Rex Ryan said it’ll have to come in the upcoming draft.

Appearing on NFL Total Access, Ryan said he’s glad the team has eight draft picks knowing they need to cash in to address their lack of depth and loss of some starters.

“We don’t have a whole lot of depth right now, so we’re going to have to do a great job in the draft which we will,” Ryan said. “Doug Whaley is an outstanding evaluator of talent. We have to hit in the draft there is no doubt but I think there are some opportunities there to help us. I don’t expect people to feel sorry for us because you don’t need to.”

Buffalo has the 19th overall pick in round one this year and eight picks total after being awarded two compensatory picks. One is in the fourth round (139 overall) and one is in the sixth round (218 overall).


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Bills won’t match Hogan offer sheet

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2016 – 4:04 pm

Buffalobills.com has confirmed that the offer sheet signed by RFA WR Chris Hogan with the New England Patriots will not be matched by the Bills. 

The club has already confirmed with the League office that they will not match the Patriots offer. 

With Buffalo’s tight cap situation committing more than the original tender offer of $1.67M was unrealistic. 

Hogan’s performance against New England cornerbacks likely enhanced his value in the eyes of the Patriots as he had six catches for 95 yards in the second meeting at Foxboro last season. 

With Hogan becoming Patriots property his $1.67M cap hit comes off the books for Buffalo. 


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Fan Friday 3-11

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2016 – 11:33 am

Free agency is up and running, but the Bills will be watching the action for the most part. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills hey Chris how does cap for bills look next year ??

mok186946

CB: Right now the 2017 cap for the Bills looks very healthy. If we conservatively estimate that the cap goes up $10M next year to $165M then Buffalo currently has more than $50M in cap space ($112M plus in cap commitments). Now a good portion of that figures to be gobbled up by long term contracts (hopefully) for Cordy Glenn, Stephon Gilmore and Tyrod Taylor, but they will still be in a better position next year than they are right now.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills What will the Bills do at WR, especially after losing Hogan to that big deal to the Patriots?

KevinMassare

CB: Buffalo currently has nine receivers on the roster. They added size and physical play, something they needed, with the additions of Jarrett Boykin, Greg Little and Greg Salas, who all stand 6-2. Salas is a player that I believe can capably fill the role Hogan held in Buffalo and perhaps offer more production.

Salas has a feel for the game that I don’t know if Hogan has yet just based on the fact that he played only one year of college football. Yes, Boykin and Little have bounced around a bit in their NFL careers, but both are big physical receivers that can box out defenders in the red zone. That’s an area where Buffalo had to add more muscle to improve their scoring efficiency. We’ll see how they fare in training camp.

As for adding there, this year’s draft class is not very strong. It lacks the explosiveness and pure speed that the past few draft classes have offered at receiver.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills upcoming contracts for Glenn, Gilmore, Taylor. Will Bills look at drafting OT or CB high in case they can’t re-sign one?

nywvfl

CB: It’s my belief that aside from quarterback, the only other offensive position the Bills figure to address in the draft is offensive line. I just don’t think it’s predicated on what may or may not happen in the way of a long term contract for Cordy Glenn.

I think adding a cornerback or two is a strong likelihood in the draft because the depth behind the top three (Gilmore, Darby and Robey) is largely unproven. Fortunately for the Bills it’s a great cornerback class this year.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills how much cap room does Buffalo have to create/need just to sign rookies in the draft?

BmoreBillsfan

CB:
Essentially it’s the money they have under the cap right now (about $5M) with a little left over. If they do not match the offer sheet for Chris Hogan (and they’re not expected to) it would provide a little more space. The thing to remember is that only the top 51 salaries count toward the cap. So for the lower draft choices the only part of their salary that counts toward the cap would be their pro-rated signing bonus, which would be minimal in the tens of thousands of dollars.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills :Bradham, Brooks, McKelvin gone to the Eagles hole in the defense are starting to become more apparent. Who fills the holes?

rosenbarker

CB: I would say there’s a good chance a couple of draft choices fill a couple of holes and then some younger players on the roster fill a couple of others. I liked Max Valles’ pass rush ability coming out of Virginia and think he’d be a nice fit in a 3-4 at OLB. Is he a starter or a situational guy? That’s to be determined in training camp.

Brooks was largely a special teams player and McKelvin was a reserve corner behind the starters. Those are depth roles that the Bills personnel department has shown an ability to fill before (See: Nickell Robey, Seantrel Henderson, Karlos Williams etc.).


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Report: Offer sheet for Hogan to avg. $4M/yr

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2016 – 9:22 am

There were widespread reports that the New England Patriots were preparing an offer sheet for Bills free agent WR Chris Hogan. Now proposed terms of said offer sheet are trickling out.

According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport the Patriots will sign Hogan to a three-year offer sheet worth up to $12M.

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Truthfully with Buffalo’s cap situation any offer sheet would be too much for the Bills to match. So to think the Bills would even try to match is misguided.

That’s why the Bills signed WR Greg Salas as a future free agent in January. Salas (6-2, 210) is a similar type receiver to that of Hogan with similar size and is also 27-years old. He’s also familiar with the division having spent time with both New England and the Jets in his career.


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Why Hogan is of interest to Patriots

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2016 – 8:38 am

Reports are strongly indicating that an offer sheet by the Patriots could be presented to Bills free agent WR Chris Hogan as early as today. Hogan visited with New England on Thursday along with a host of other free agents including fellow receiver and Oakland free agent Rod Streater. So what’s the appeal of Hogan to the Patriots?

While every NFL player has to have top flight athletic ability just to reach the pro level, one of the main things Patriots head coach Bill Belichick looks for in a player is football smarts.

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According to ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, Belichick met with Hogan and Streater Thursday and put them through the paces of testing their ability to retain new information. Reiss reports that both Hogan and Streater could get offer sheets today.

The Bills would have five days to match the offer sheet or lose him without compensation.


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Stefan Charles signs with Lions

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2016 – 8:29 am

The Bills did not tender restricted free agent Stefan Charles prior to Wednesday’s deadline to retain his rights. The defensive tackle didn’t last long on the open market as the Detroit Lions signed him to a contract late Thursday.

The Lions announced the signing last night as Charles agreement is reportedly a one-year deal.

Charles was a rotational player for the Bills and primarily a run plugger.


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Report: Hogan visiting Patriots

Posted by Chris Brown on March 10, 2016 – 10:20 am

The Bills extended a qualifying offer to restricted free agent WR Chris Hogan prior to the league deadline Wednesday, but it was just the low tender giving Buffalo only the right to match any offer. On Thursday Hogan is reportedly visiting with a Bills division rival.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Hogan is visiting with the Patriots today.

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As Schefter stated, if Hogan were to sign an offer sheet with New England, the Bills would have five days to match. If they do not there would not be any compensation due Buffalo because Hogan was an undrafted rookie. Had the Bills put a second or first rounder tender on Hogan that would’ve been the compensation had he been signed away by another club.


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Report: Eagles agree to terms with Bradham

Posted by Chris Brown on March 9, 2016 – 10:11 pm

According to multiple reports Bills free agent LB Nigel Bradham has agreed to terms with the Philadelphia Eagles. 

The Philadephia Inquirer was one of the first news outlets to report the agreement between Bradham and the Eagles

Bradham is the third now former Bills defender to reunite with Jim Schwartz, now Philadelphia’s defensive coordinator. 


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Eagles sign CB Ron Brooks

Posted by Chris Brown on March 9, 2016 – 9:37 pm

The Philadelphia Eagles have dipped into the Bills free agent secondary once signing Leodis McKelvin, now they’ve added another. 

The Eagles signed free agent CB Ron Brooks to a three-year deal. Brooks served mainly as a special teamed for Buffalo. 

The former fourth-round pick he played his entire career with the Bills until now. 


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Charles, Powell, Rambo now free agents

Posted by Chris Brown on March 9, 2016 – 4:03 pm

The Bills already informed restricted free agent TE MarQueis Gray that he wouldn’t be extended a qualifying offer by Buffalo. It’s likely DL Stefan Charles, LB Ty Powell and S Bacarri Rambo were extended the same courtesy by the Bills as all three have become unrestricted free agents.

Charles, Powell and Rambo were not tendered qualifying offers prior to the 4 pm deadline today (Wednesday) thereby making the three restricted free agent now unrestricted and available to sign with any of the other 31 teams in the NFL.

Even though Charles, Powell and Rambo are readily available to any team that might be interested, it’s possible that they could return to the Bills at a lesser amount than the low tender figure of $1.67M. However, if there is a contract offer made to any of them of any significance, Buffalo is not expected to compete for their services.

Buffalo also did not tender an offer to RB Cierre Wood, who was the Bills only exclusive rights free agent. He too is a free agent free to sign anywhere.


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Rex’s recruiting helped with Incognito

Posted by Chris Brown on March 9, 2016 – 12:52 pm

He flew all the way out to Hawaii’ to spend some time with his Pro Bowl players OL Richie Incognito and Eric Wood and QB Tyrod Taylor. Knowing Incognito was an impending free agent, Ryan’s main impetus was to demonstrate to Incognito how important he felt he was to their future success.

Fortunately, Ryan’s efforts proved beneficial in getting a new deal hammered out with Incognito.

“Rex [Ryan] had a lot to do with it,” said Incognito. “Rex is one of those guys where, he has his guys’ backs, he treats us like men, he treats us likes pros, and he expects us to go out and put the results on the field. Playing for a guy like Rex and having confidence in us and having our back, it speaks volumes about Rex and it just speaks volumes about his style, about how guys just love him.

“You know I have played in this league a long time and I have played for a lot of coaches who are scared of their own shadow. Rex is definitely not that, Rex is, Rex is a man. I love playing for him and I love the environment and I love my teammates, and the guys we are surrounded with right there, and I really think we have something special growing.”

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Incognito: I’ve got a lot left in the tank

Posted by Chris Brown on March 9, 2016 – 8:36 am

Bills LG Richie Incognito was very happy that things came together on a new contract agreement with Buffalo Tuesday. Very quickly however, the lineman’s focus shifted right back to football. Knowing he’s turning 33 before next season, Incognito has been hard at work training in Arizona all offseason. His new deal with Buffalo has only motivated him all the more to prove there’s a lot of quality football left in him.

“I feel like I got a lot of gas left in the tank,” he said. “I am in the best shape of my life, I am down in Arizona training my butt off. And I got a lot left in the tank, I take it day by day and season by season. So I am focused on 2016 and I am just going to work as hard as I can to be the best player I can be.

“I made a promise to Terry and Kim Pegula, and Rex [Ryan], and Doug Whaley when they signed me back in February of 2015 to give it my all, and give them everything I had and to make the situation right. And this is another step in that process. So I wake with that mentality every day to get better every day and give it my all, and let everything else handle itself.”

Incognito’s 18-month layoff from the pounding of the NFL game from the last half of 2013 through 2014 may prove to be a benefit now. It’s 24 fewer games of wear and tear and that probably makes his soon-to-be 33-year old body feel a bit younger than those of most 33-year old linemen in the league.


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McKelvin chose familiarity in Philly

Posted by Chris Brown on March 9, 2016 – 8:16 am

Seeing Leodis McKelvin choose the Philadelphia Eagles for the next chapter in his NFL career was anything but surprising. Knowing that former Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz would be running the defense for the Eagles in 2016 under new head coach Doug Pederson provided McKelvin with a sense of comfort in choosing to sign with Philadelphia.

When asked why he signed with the Eagles his answer was, “Familiarity with the defense.” Smart move.

For a 30-year old cornerback in a new place, knowing the defense only enhances his chances to stick. He has a defensive coordinator in Schwartz who knows what he’s capable of, so having to prove himself in every way, shape and form on the field won’t be as daunting a task had he come in with a coordinator he didn’t know at all.

It’s just a two-year deal for McKelvin, but if he can perform in camp he’s got a good shot at a starting role.


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