Inside The Bills

Report: McKelvin visiting Eagles

Posted by Chris Brown on March 8, 2016 – 1:46 pm

The Bills parted ways with Leodis McKelvin late last week in a cost cutting measure. Now he’s drawing interest from a couple of NFC East teams. 

McKelvin is visiting with the Eagles today per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. He indicates a deal there could materialize soon, which wouldn’t be surprising knowing that Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is familiar with him as a player and vice versa. 

The Cowboys are also reportedly expressing interest. 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Dolphins front runner to sign Mario

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

Mario Williams has been a free agent for less than a week, but it appears the Miami Dolphins are making a push to get him signed sooner rather than later.

That according to Pro Football Talk, which cites Miami as the clear front runner for his services. Williams reportedly intended to visit four or five teams in short order, including the New York Giants, but if the money is right Williams will undoubtedly sign. The report indicates a deal could be consummated as soon as today.

Miami has been making moves to reduce their cap figure most recently restructuring the contract of TE Jordan Cameron. If they sign Williams it will presumably reduce their ability to sign other free agents.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Glenn signs franchise tender

Posted by Chris Brown on March 5, 2016 – 12:05 pm

The Bills assigned LT Cordy Glenn their franchise tender earlier in the week. It only took him a couple of days to sign it.

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With Glenn signing the tender, his $13.7M salary for 2016 is now guaranteed. The Bills still have until July 15th to work on a long term contract agreement.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-4

Posted by Chris Brown on March 4, 2016 – 11:35 am

Sitting on the cusp of free agency the Bills are not expected to be early big money players at all. It will be interesting to see which of their RFAs they tender by Wednesday. Here are your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills hey Chris being that were fully going back to Ryan’s style of D who is gonna be the QB of this D? AW?

miosi37

CB: Rex Ryan told us at the NFL Combine that he wants Preston Brown to step up run the defense. Brown surprisingly had some missteps in running the scheme last season to the point where Manny Lawson had to take over late in the season. But here’s what Ryan said about Brown last week in Indy.

“I think if everything stays the same and we have all our players back then Preston has to be more vocal and there has to be more ownership that way,” Ryan said. “It’s not good enough to just know your job. You’ve got to bark it out and be the quarterback back there. And he can do it. He’s a smart enough kid and his dad is a football coach. So he’s got to come out of his shell. David Harris was a quiet guy, but on the football field he ran the whole thing. He’s got to grow into it. It doesn’t happen overnight. I think when you come into a new system it’s tougher to play, but yeah I expect Preston to be able to take that step and he needs to.”
2 – @ChrisBrownBills If Incognito is lost in FA’cy, do you think they slide Miller to LG and try and fill RG with draft or veteran FA?

rockydm92

CB: I don’t know if they flip Miller to the other side. I think their preference is to let him progress at right guard. As for replacements if negotiations go nowhere with Incognito, I would expect a veteran free agent to be signed.
3- @ChrisBrownBills How likely is it Whaley would take a chance at Nkemdiche at 19? Some teams apparently think he’s undraftable

iamFlowbee

CB: I would be very surprised if they took a chance on Nkemdiche. Here’s why. Buffalo just got rid of a player who was a headache in terms of work ethic and effort on the game field in Mario Williams. You want to replace him with the same type of player? Nkemdiche has oodles of talent, but even he admitted that he took plays off and was lazy.

I wouldn’t be surprised if his lousy effort on the field hurt him more than his still – it all doesn’t add up – night at his Atlanta hotel room where he was charged with drug possession, admitted to being drunk, fell out his hotel room window and according to police reports was paranoid when police arrived on the scene.

When teams make an investment in a player in the form of a draft pick, they want to know what they’re going to get from the player on every snap, every Sunday. If there’s doubt as to what they’ll get on the field nothing will hurt a player’s draft stock more, short of a failed physical. Can’t physically play might be the only thing worse than no passion to play.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills I read that a NFL GM felt Bills cap management had been criminal. Do you see that they have mismanaged their cap? I don’t.

XKC4338

CB: It is a little disappointing to see some of the reports that were out there concerning the Bills cap situation. Yes, they were tight against the cap here in 2016, but they had some pretty straightforward ways to maneuver things and create some necessary space.

All the talk about them being in cap jail for 2017 is also off the mark too. If the cap goes up $10M as it has the last couple of years to $165M, Buffalo will be about $50M under the cap. Obviously that will be subject to change if Cordy Glen signs a long term deal, as well as Incognito, Gilmore and Tyrod Taylor. But to say right now they’re in bad shape for 2017 is just inaccurate.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills the going rate for a starting qb $16-18M per year is @TyrodTaylor really worth that & worth the risk?

cp382

CB: I think that’s why the Bills want to see him play more in 2016 before deciding if he is worth that kind of money. As we covered on Buffalobills.com Thursday an extension for Taylor is no easy call because effectively pegging his true market value after playing just 14 games is beyond difficult. There are certainly a lot of encouraging signs, but it’s simply not enough of a body of work.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

How Bradford’s deal could impact Taylor

Posted by Chris Brown on March 2, 2016 – 8:42 am

With the Philadelphia Eagles signing QB Sam Bradford to a new two-year contract to keep him off the free agent market, has the NFC East club helped to set parameters for a potential extension for Bills QB Tyrod Taylor?

An extension for Taylor does not appear imminent with all the contract negotiations that sit on the front burner, chiefly with guard Richie Incognito. Still, agents and NFL front offices take a long look at the most recent contracts to help ascertain true market value.

Bradford agreed to a two-year $35M deal of which $22M is guaranteed. There was a reported $11M signing bonus and the contract averages $17.5M per season. Bradford’s cap hit this year however, is just $12.5M in 2016 and then balloons to $22.5M in 2017, a figure that will likely be addressed either with another extension or a release depending on how he performs in 2016.

An extension for Taylor is something GM Doug Whaley has not ruled out, but the Bills with their current cap situation likely aren’t itching to get something done anytime soon.

At age 28, Bradford has two years on Taylor, who won’t turn 27 until August. If Taylor excels in 2016 and a long term commitment is the play then the deal will presumably be longer in length than Bradford’s. But if Taylor’s play doesn’t take another step forward this fall and there is no other QB on the roster qualified or ready to take over, then Bradford’s short term deal might not be a bad blueprint.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Bills expected to franchise Glenn

Posted by Chris Brown on February 27, 2016 – 10:03 pm

With time running out for the Bills to negotiate a long term contract extension for OT Cordy Glenn reports are now surfacing that Buffalo will utilize the franchise tag on their left tackle to keep him off the free agent market. 

NFL.com’s Jason Gold is reporting that the Bills are expected to make use of the tag on Glenn prior to the March 1st deadline this coming Tuesday. 

Glenn is set to become a free agent, but the Bills labeled the left tackle a top priority to return to the fold this offseason. 

The franchise tag amount for offensive linemen in 2015 was $12.94M. The 2016 franchise tag figures are expected to be released soon. Some estimates for offensive linemen have been projected in excess of $14 million.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley: We will add a QB to roster

Posted by Chris Brown on February 25, 2016 – 7:22 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley isn’t ready to say how they’re going to do it, but he did confirm at the NFL Combine on Thursday that Buffalo will be adding a quarterback to their roster.

“Let’s just say this we have two quarterbacks in the last year of their contracts, we will add another quarterback,” said Whaley. “How we are going to do it, we will keep all our options open.”

The most logical option would appear to be the NFL draft. In a draft where Whaley himself has said there is strong developmental talent from rounds two through six, the Bills stand a good chance of having a crack at a good value at quarterback somewhere in that range. More importantly that prospect will be affordable and not hurt the Bills already tight cap situation, unlike a free agent signal caller.

As far as the draft prospects are concerned or free agency for that matter, Whaley again is focused on landing the best quarterback they can acquire, not one that can mimic the skills of Tyrod Taylor.

“You look for the best guy at the value that we would want to take him or sign him, if it is a free agent, or a trade possibility,” he said. “So you just look for the best guy you think can help your team get over that hump.”

Buffalobills.com Combine coverage is presented by NAPA Auto Parts.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-19

Posted by Chris Brown on February 19, 2016 – 11:37 am

Our NFL Combine coverage presented by NAPA begins on Tuesday and will continue through the week 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 – Chris,

Thank you for all of your fantastic insight throughout the season.  I have a question about the Bills defensive line moving into next season.  When we line up in a 3-4, where do you suspect Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams will be located?  Also, connected to that, it seems like a lot of websites suspect we will require another 3-4 defensive end in the draft but I was wondering if you thought players such as Wynn, Carrington (if re-signed), Corbin Bryant, Worthy or Edwards could fit that bill so we could focus our draft on other needs.

-Tony
CB: I think the good thing about Dareus or Kyle is their versatility and athleticism allow you to play them as a five technique end or at nose tackle. The main reason many draftniks predict the Bills will need another defensive end is they also suspect push coming to shove with Mario Williams cost prohibitive contract.

But you do make a good point. Jarius Wynn is coming back from ACL surgery that cost him the 2015 season. I expect Corbin Bryant to be extended a qualifying offer by the Bills as a restricted free agent. Signing a difference maker at defensive end is unrealistic based on the team’s cap situation, so the draft is the most likely path for the Bills to acquire one.

 

2 – Hey Chris,

First off I thank you for answering our questions and keeping hope alive to those of us who reacted harshly after playoff elimination. (Ugh.. 16 years…)

My question is about where Buckner and Bosa likely stand on the draft board? Are there any other sizable DEs that are valued as a round one selection? In your opinion where should the Bills focus with their number one? Is there a drop off in depth enough that it becomes likely to pursue a LB instead of the D-Line? (Is that already likely given uncertainty with Bradham?) Finally do you foresee finding our true #2 WR in this draft class?

-Already hoping in OR

CB: I don’t expect Buckner or Bosa to still be on the board when the Bills pick 19th. With respect to their top pick in round one, I think the safe assumption is they address the defensive side of the ball. I think picking a position however, is unrealistic.

I think we can all agree that the deepest defensive position in the draft is probably defensive line, so that’s a good thing for the Bills, who will likely need to add there with Mario Williams uncertain future and Kyle Williams now on the back end of his career. But to say they’ll pick a defensive lineman isn’t something anyone can accurately predict now or even in mid-April.

We have to see what decisions are made with players on the roster now, who is added and where in free agency in March and what Bills free agents are re-signed. All those variables can change the draft picture considerably before we get to late April.

As for finding a true No. 2 WR in this class, I think it’s possible, but not likely based on some of the other positional needs particularly on defense that appear to be more pressing at this point. May have to stop gap that role in 2016 and address it more effectively in 2017. Can’t do everything in one offseason.

 

3 –@ChrisBrownBills

If we cut Mario, sign Glenn/Richie…what’s realistic for rest of FA? Eric Weddle or Damon Harrison possible?

iamFlowbee

CB: If those things happen the Bills are going to have to be bargain shoppers even if they make a few other cuts to the roster to save money against the cap. That means Weddle is not expected to be an option. Damon Harrison is possible provided there isn’t a heavy market interest in him.

That’s why GM Doug Whaley said they’re looking for ‘dust settle’ guys. Guys who they can sign without getting into a bidding war. For reference I would look at the kind of players they signed in the 2014 offseason. Players like Corey Graham, Brandon Spikes, Boobie Dixon. Affordable, budget-conscious free agents that can come in and fill a role and improve the depth of the club without messing up the team’s cap situation in the current season and the season or two that follows.

 

4 – Chris,

Do you think Nick O’Leary will get more looks at Tight End in the upcoming season? Also it seemed that Seantrel Henderson was getting praised for his play his rookie year, but was much maligned this past season. Has he regressed that much or is it the system change that troubled him?

Thanks,
Chris G. from Nashville
CB: I think seeing Nick O’Leary called up to the active roster late in the season was an encouraging sign for the kind of look he’ll get this offseason and in training camp. I don’t think it’s any secret that no one really seized the No. 2 TE role behind Charles Clay last season. O’Leary was stuck on the practice squad, MarQueis Gray suffered a forearm injury that required surgery and wound up on injured reserve and Chris Gragg only flashed at times with limited opportunities to make a true impact.

Seantrel Henderson regressed because he was dealing with an undisclosed medical condition that kept him out of the last five games of the season. Whether he’ll be able to get his condition under control so he can effectively continue his career is something we’ll all be waiting to see this spring.


5 –
@ChrisBrownBills

I keep hearing about Incognito and Glenn, but is Bradham a priority for the Bills? #Bills #FanFriday

Josh_McCarty28

CB: The Bills have said it’s their preference to get Nigel Bradham back in the fold for the foreseeable future. At the same time they know that with a tight cap situation and depending on the size of the contracts for Glenn and Incognito, being able to offer Bradham a contract commensurate with fair market value might be easier said than done.

If Bradham reaches the market because the Bills can’t offer quite the money he might be looking for due to their cap situation then it might prove difficult to get him re-signed.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-12

Posted by Chris Brown on February 12, 2016 – 11:36 am

The new league year is underway and deadlines for offseason business is closing in. Let’s get to your questions this week from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

How soon do you think we’ll either re-sign @68INCOGNITO or @cordyglenn77? Hopefully both. Any word?

EJMiller707

CB: I believe the Bills will make every effort to return both of them to Buffalo’s offensive line. But as we know it takes two to get a deal consummated. Initial talks have begun, but things typically don’t get down to brass tacks until the week of the NFL Combine. That’s when Jim Overdorf and Doug Whaley can meet face to face with agents who are in Indianapolis for the week. It’s then that concrete parameters are usually set and more intense negotiations ensue.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills

If McCoy is suspended, however long it is, how well could the Bills run the ball without him with Williams and Gillislee?

sam_decoste

CB: I understand the concern about Buffalo’s run game, and if there is a real possibility that there will be time where they will be without the services of McCoy in 2016, then the team will probably have to address the void in some way, shape or form. And they’d have to do it by acquiring a versatile back.

The Bills could survive a couple of games with Williams and Gillislee, but truly contending could prove difficult if a McCoy absence lasts longer than that. That being said the Bills were 3-1 with McCoy out of the lineup last season.

 

3 – Chris,

Hypothetical of course.  Just what if, with all the defensive needs and offensive tackle needs, Laquon Treadwell and/or Connor Cook were available at pick 19?  How are we going to fill our need at receiver?  Not in free agency as per Whaley’s statement and later in the draft will not fill that need either.

Jim (Skaneateles)
CB: I think it’s too early to determine right now how filling receiver would be addressed. Doug Whaley made it clear that he believes they have sufficient talent on the roster now to fill the No. 2 WR role with a collection of players, Robert Woods chief among them. What that statement says to me is – while in an ideal world the Bills would love to have a legit No. 2 WR to line up opposite Sammy Watkins, it’s just not a top priority.

You can’t fill every hole in one offseason and right now Cordy Glenn, Richie Incognito, defensive line and linebacker are all clearly ahead of No. 2 receiver on the team’s offseason priority list. With a measure of uncertainty at safety one might even put that position ahead of No. 2

So where the Bills are is if the higher priority needs can be effectively addressed between now and the draft and the right opportunity presents itself, then perhaps drafting a WR capable of filling that role could happen. I just wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it.

 

4 – Chris,
With The Rams moving to LA, do you think there’s a possibility that the AFC division’s might change? If so, do you think they’ll move the Bills out of the AFC East. Maybe to the AFC North (which might make more sense)?

Thanks,

Mike Barwick

CB: I would not anticipate realignment at all. The Rams play in the NFC West, so their current division location makes even more sense geographically with Arizona, San Francisco and Seattle all in their division.

 

5 – CB,

If the team moves on from Bradham, Demario Davis is a player that has been linked to the Bills. Can the team afford Davis, who knows Rex’s scheme well and be the ‘field general’ in the front seven. He won’t be a huge player on the market but maybe more worth it to the Bills than other teams. Would he bit a fit next to Preston Brown?

Josh P.

CB: I think he would be a consideration, but as Doug Whaley has said they won’t be early spenders in free agency. They’re looking for dust settle guys. If Demario Davis is pursued by other clubs early Buffalo will not get into a bidding war, especially for a linebacker that many NFL talent evaluators see as a two-down player.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-29

Posted by Chris Brown on January 29, 2016 – 11:23 am

Senior Bowl on Saturday and Pro Bowl on Sunday with three Bills participating. As for today let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills for this week’s edition.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Reported that DeMario Davis, ILB for the #Jets is set to hit FA. Had down yr, but excelled w/ Rex. Top FA target?

BrettsterBills

CB: Yes, I did see that. According to the reports the Jets intend to re-sign Erin Henderson instead of Davis. To me they’re not all that different. Henderson is just two years older and will likely come cheaper. Most NFL scouts see Davis as a two-down linebacker. As you mentioned he had a down year and struggled when put in coverage situations. Personally I think Nigel Bradham is a more versatile linebacker.

As Doug Whaley said, they’re looking for dust settle guys. If Davis goes untouched through the initial wave of free agency, which is certainly possible, and his price isn’t exorbitant then he could be an option.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills is there still a working group studying long-term stadium options for the Bills? What’s the latest?

lophus89

CB: To my knowledge the New Stadium Working Group still exists, but I will reiterate what Bills President Russ Brandon shared at the Prospectus Premiere event Thursday night about the prospects for a new stadium.

He essentially said at this time there are no planning meetings, no land grabs and no feasibility studies taking place. The Bills have a lease that runs until 2022 and the state and county just invested a sizable amount of money into renovations to Ralph Wilson Stadium.

If you remember the New Stadium Working Group was quickly assembled in the wake of Mr. Wilson’s passing because the future of the franchise in Buffalo was uncertain. The NSWG would need to have answers in the event that a new owner sought to relocate the team during the one year opt out portion of the lease in 2020 to help convince the new owner to keep the team in Buffalo.

Once the Pegulas successfully purchased the Bills that threat went away. Terry and Kim Pegula are committed to the city and keeping the team here. So the urgency to map out a future home for the Bills just isn’t there at this time.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills do you think the hiring of Rob Ryan will benefit the Bills or just lead to another rebuild?

Cmoney111196

CB: Here’s why I see the addition of Rob Ryan as a benefit. Rex implicitly trusts his brother in every facet of football. With Rob as Assistant head coach/Defense, Rex will be able to focus more on the big picture responsibilities of being a head coach. Rex can hand the reins of the defense to his brother and defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman during the course of the week and on Sunday Rex can still call the plays.

I also believe Rob will serve as an added motivator for Rex. Both of them are very disappointed with how their 2015 seasons went with respect to defensive performance. Putting the two of them together will only inspire them more to redeem themselves in 2016 with Buffalo’s defensive unit.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills What’s the better option? WR in free agency or the draft?

orlandoweise

CB: Here are the things you need to consider when assessing whether the Bills sign a receiver in free agency or acquire one in the draft. First, where is receiver on their positional priority list?

Sure Doug Whaley would like to add a bona fide No. 2 receiver to work opposite Sammy Watkins, but that comes at a price when dealing with free agents. I think the steps we’ve seen the Bills take already at receiver signing Greg Salas, Jarrett Boykin and Greg Little is similar to that of their approach at quarterback last year.

Create a competitive environment and hope you can strike gold with a player stepping up and filling a role at a very affordable price. All three of those players bring size to the equation, which is another element that Buffalo is looking to add to their receiving corps.

The free agent class at receiver is limited at best. Free agents, who are likely to still be available when the dust settles are players like Rishard Matthews, Brandon Gibson and Darrius Heyward-Bey. They are not going to be names that excite you. So Buffalo took the proactive approach and signed a few reserve/future free agents in Salas, Boykin and Little in the hopes that one emerges.

Now one of those guys might not be the true No. 2. Heck, I think Robert Woods is probably better than all of them. But if Woods can work primarily in the slot opposite Charles Clay and one of the three aforementioned wideouts can prove they deserve the job outside opposite Sammy Watkins you could be in business.

Is that a big ‘if’? It most certainly is, but with a tight cap situation, two starting offensive linemen to re-sign and some holes to fill on defense that might be the only realistic course to take.

I know this is a long way of saying it, but if the Bills are going to add any more talent at receiver it’s probably coming via the draft.

 

5 – Chris,

My question is about the future of Stephon Gilmore. I understand he is under contract until the end of next year, but after that do you think they’ll extend him?

He is going to want top 3-5 CB money.

If we can sign Glenn and need a huge contract for Taylor, where is this money coming from to sign a top 3 CB?

Not to mention there is no way to sign Gilmore and Darby if he continues to play at this level.

The way I see it, is the writing is on the wall with Gilmore. He plays out next year, wants top 3 money and there will be a team willing to give it to him. With his replacement on the team. I see this as his last year with Bills!! Thoughts?

Dave from Buffalo

CB: I wouldn’t throw in the towel on Gilmore being gone after 2016 just yet. By picking up the fifth-year option on Gilmore they’ve given themselves time to address his contract long term. The average salary of the top cornerback contracts is just over $11M per season.

I don’t debate that it will be a sizable investment to keep him long term. You’re right Tyrod Taylor will be the other big contract. The thing with Taylor’s contract and Gilmore’s is you can spread the money out over a six or seven-year period, which lessens the blow to the team’s cap.

Also helping is the fact that the salary cap is going up at a rate of close to $10M per season with the revenue continually pouring in. Add in the fact that the only other notable contracts that will be up in 2017 are Robert Woods and Manny Lawson, who will be 32-years old at that time, and it’s reasonable to think you can get Gilmore and Taylor done.

Darby is a player you don’t have to worry about until 2019.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Incognito’s goal: Come back & play in Buffalo

Posted by Chris Brown on January 28, 2016 – 10:41 am

Bills Pro Bowl guard Richie Incognito has already been deemed a top offseason priority by GM Doug Whaley as they try to get him re-signed knowing he’s a key member of their offensive line. Set to become an unrestricted free agent in March, Incognito reiterated his desire to re-sign with the Bills.

Appearing on the John Murphy Show Wednesday night, Incognito talked about why it’s important for him to continue his career in Buffalo.

“I’m anxious. I’m anxious to see what happens,” said Incognito of his contract negotiations. “My goal is to come back and play in Buffalo. I love it there. I love my teammates and I love playing for coach Rex and Greg Roman. I really think that my personality and my hard work approach and physical nature really resembles the spirit of Buffalo. A blue collar town and a bunch of hard working people up there, and they just want to win. That’s my number one goal is just to win and restore the glory of Buffalo. I hope it all works out and I hope I’m back there real soon.”

The top 10 guard contracts in the NFL average about $7M per season. Where Incognito fits on the guard pay scale at age 32 remains to be seen.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Dialogue to begin with Bills free agents

Posted by Chris Brown on January 27, 2016 – 8:47 am

Bills GM Doug Whaley and Buffalo’s player personnel and college scouting staffs will be at the Senior Bowl in Mobile all week, but the organization will be getting started on preliminary talks with their upcoming free agents.

“Last week we had the year in review with the coaches and going over the roster,” said Whaley. “(Senior VP of Football Administration) Jim Overdorf is going to reach out and starting touching base with all the free agents. Not just the restricted free agents, but the unrestricted guys as well and touch base with their representatives and get the ball rolling.”

Among the top priorities are Cordy Glenn and Richie Incognito, who are both scheduled to become unrestricted free agents. As is typically the case, the club just wants to reach a fair and equitable deal for both sides, especially with Glenn and Incognito knowing how important it is to get both back in the fold for 2016 and beyond.

Whaley was asked specifically about how quickly a deal could get done for Incognito, who is headed to the Pro Bowl this weekend.

“We’re always going to try to get a deal where both parties feel like they won and are happy,” said Whaley. “We want Richie and his representatives to walk away from a deal that we have and we’re both smiling and saying, ‘It was fair.’ That’s how we look and attack every negotiation.”

Buffalo’s restricted free agents are all relatively important names moving forward as well. How the Bills will pick and choose whom to tender from the list below will be interesting.

Bills RFAs
DT Corbin Bryant
DT Stefan Charles
TE MarQueis Gray
WR Chris Hogan
OT Jordan Mills
S Bacarri Rambo


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-22

Posted by Chris Brown on January 22, 2016 – 12:07 pm

Some coaching hires for the staff the last week or so. Here are your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills What’s the biggest lesson learned between Wk1 and Wk16 defensively with this team?

vapor311

CB: I think the biggest lesson learned by the players was that if there was more accountability player to player on defense, there would’ve been unanimous buy in and the defense would’ve performed more consistently and been more effective in Ryan’s scheme. That didn’t happen until after the embarrassing defensive performance at Washington when the players that did buy in called out the players who didn’t. We saw improved collective play from the defensive unit after that.

I believe the biggest lesson learned by Rex and the coaches is just how multi-faceted a lot of their defensive talent is particularly some of their defensive linemen like Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams and Jerry Hughes specifically. Dareus and Williams are athletic enough to play end in a 3-4 look and Hughes can be an end in a 4-3 look or an OLB in a 3-4. He’s that versatile.

There are other examples at LB and in the secondary, but Rex has expressed that a year with those players has provided him with a better grasp of everything that players like that can do, not just their primary strengths.

 

2 – Hey Chris,

Here is my concern. It seems to make more sense for a coach to change their scheme to fit the players than change the roster to fit the scheme. Why has Rex Ryan, the great defensive mastermind who was figured out and canned in NY, been reluctant to implement a scheme where our star defensive line can pass rush like they have proven they are good at doing and rely upon a better cover based defense? We consistently get beat while trying to change in and out of “complex” blitz packages that always seem to come up short while letting the QB find a quick under or hot route. What should we expect for the future I’m so desperately trying to not give up on? Suddenly find myself hoping for a Sean Payton and Jim Schwartz led team and I can’t stand the coaching turnovers.. But I have to admit Ryan’s defensive scheme is old news…

-Losing faith in OR

CB: Rex took steps to try and mold his defensive scheme to the talent of the personnel. As mentioned above Ryan admitted that he is in a much better position to coach to some of the players’ versatile strengths now that he knows the depth of their talents having worked with them for a year. I know that’s small consolation in light of how the defense underachieved, but I don’t think it’s something that should be taken lightly.

Rex referenced Jerry Hughes specifically saying he now realizes that Hughes is so much more than a hand in the dirt type, rush the passer player. That he can do a number of different things well. He also said the big difference he noticed at the end of the season was that players were finally giving him answers when he asked for their opinion.

It was his contention that his offer to the players from the very beginning of the season to give him feedback fell on deaf ears until the last two games. Rex in making in-game adjustments would ask for the opinion of the players. Until the Dallas game he said those appeals were not met with answers and he couldn’t understand why.

Once he got some more input from players we saw the difference. Buffalo’s last two games were their best back-to-back defensive performances of the season in terms of points allowed (6 and 17). And that was without a handful of defensive starters (Darby, Gilmore, A. Williams, K. Williams, Bradham). So Ryan is encouraged that the proper give and take now exists between the players and himself and the value of that should not be discounted.

 

3 – Happy New Year Chris:

Do you think the Bills organization will make a play for Miami Dolphins Olivier Vernon?

Thanks from a true Bills fan in NewportNews, Va.
Gary Truesdale

CB: I would be surprised if the Bills pursued Olivier Vernon only because he’s going to command a sizable price tag and GM Doug Whaley has made it clear that they’re going to be pursuing “dust settle” type free agents. The focus this offseason will be for the Bills to re-sign their own, chiefly Richie Incognito and Cordy Glenn.

Buffalo’s cap situation needs some restructuring this offseason before we reach free agency and Bills Senior VP of Football Administration, Jim Overdorf will be tasked with that as he has in the past. But knowing the priorities that Incognito and Glenn are combined with their cap situation I wouldn’t expect to see a top tier free agent like Vernon to be on the Bills radar.

 

4 – Chris,

Hypothetical of course.  Just what if, with all the defensive needs and offensive tackle needs, Laquon Treadwell and/or Connor Cook were available at pick 19?  How are we going to fill our need at receiver?  Not in free agency as per Whaley’s statement and later in the draft will not fill that need either.

Jim (Skaneateles)

CB: I do believe the Bills will make efforts to land a true No. 2 receiver that can draw attention away from Sammy Watkins. Robert Woods played more than half the season with a severe groin injury and might be best suited for the slot. Percy Harvin is a player the Bills would like to return to the fold, but has to get healthy first and is not a lock to return.
I know the Bills would like to add size to the position as evidenced by the reserve/future signings of Greg Little and Jarrett Boykin. But I don’t think they’re putting all their stock in those two wideouts.

Unfortunately this year’s receiver class doesn’t offer a lot of quality size. There are 6-1 and 6-2 guys aplenty, but the 6-4 and 6-5 targets of quality just don’t exist in this year’s class. I suppose there could be a prospect or two that could possess a ‘big receiver’ game because they play bigger than their listed size. I’ve still got homework to do on the 2016 draft class, but Treadwell would be a tempting option.

Personally I don’t think Connor Cook is worthy of a first-round pick. In a draft without a lot of elite QB talent I suppose it’s possible he’ll be moved up a lot of draft boards as the draft draws closer due to supply and demand, but Treadwell is a more worthy first-round pick to me than Cook. That being said I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bills found better value at another position in round one.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills What are the fates of Mario Williams, Kyle Williams and Jerry Hughes? Are they staying or leaving?

TandAFootball

CB: I feel good about the playing futures of Kyle Williams and Jerry Hughes in Buffalo. I’ll actually have more on Kyle Williams in a story on Buffalobills.com slated for Monday. Hughes is a cornerstone piece for this defense moving forward, which is why he was signed to the long term contract extension last offseason.

Mario Williams situation is a lot more precarious, chiefly due to his cost-prohibitive contract. I think it would be difficult for any defensive player to live up to a contract that has a cap figure of almost $20M for 2016 ($19.9M). With Buffalo’s cap situation in a restrictive position right now, addressing Mario’s contract will probably be pretty high on Jim Overdorf’s to-do list.

There are a few paths they can take with it as we all know. What kind of steps Mario and his agent are willing to take is the big question.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills open to a Harvin return

Posted by Chris Brown on January 22, 2016 – 9:28 am

Percy Harvin’s first year with the Bills did not go how anyone had planned. A persistent hip injury compromised his weekly availability as the receiver appeared in just five games in 2015. He also has an automatic opt-out clause in his contract, which will make him a free agent against this offseason. Still, Buffalo’s front office remains interested in returning him to their receiving corps in 2016.

Bills GM Doug Whaley, appearing on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Friday, indicated that the club would like to bring Harvin back once he’s got a clean bill of health.

“Absolutely. No doubt about it,” said Whaley. “Obviously the first thing for Percy is he’s got to get completely healthy. Once he’s healthy we’ll reach out to his guy and explain that we’d like to have him back. I think when he was on the field people took notice and he helped us when Sammy was out. So we would love to have him back.”

Knowing Buffalo’s tight cap situation, the Bills would probably only re-sign Harvin to a cost-conscious type contract.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley: Our cap situation is pretty restrictive

Posted by Chris Brown on January 22, 2016 – 9:18 am

Senior Bowl week is currently on the front burner for the Bills personnel department, but prior to leaving for Mobile, Alabama, the front office had a personnel meeting to discuss their offseason priorities concerning their current roster with their own free agents the focus. Naturally Richie Incognito and Cordy Glenn remain at the top of the list with both set to become unrestricted free agents in less than two months. But Buffalo’s salary cap situation has to be rectified first.

Appearing on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, GM Doug Whaley outlined how at the outset heading into the new league year in March, the Bills have some financial maneuvers to make as they are currently over the projected salary cap for 2016.

“Right now it’s pretty restrictive. I believe we’re over the cap,” said Whaley. “So (Senior VP of Football Administration) Jim Overdorf is going to be working really hard and work his magic. We have confidence that we’ll be able to put our best foot forward and try to get this done (with Incognito and Glenn). When you have the number one rated rushing offense in the league you want to try to keep that as stable as possible. If we can get those five guys back and maintain the continuity up front that’s not only going to keep our running game strong, but it’ll help our quarterback improve as well.”

The 2016 salary cap is projected to be somewhere between $150 and $156 million. It was $143 million and change last season after making a $10M jump in one calendar year thanks to some new large television contracts the league had brokered. Per OverTheCap.com, Buffalo currently sits at almost $158M in contract commitments that count toward the cap.

Look for the Bills to make the necessary maneuvers to put themselves in a position to re-sign the left side of their offensive line and make a few other moves they deem essential to take the next step as a team in the offseason.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-15

Posted by Chris Brown on January 15, 2016 – 12:04 pm

A couple of adds to the coaching staff and the roster this week. Here are your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Chris, can u see the Bills being interested in D.Harrison or H.Ngata if available in FA? Both r NTs that know Rex system

Mikeybeit

CB: While there’s no debating that Harrison and Ngata know Ryan’s defense, I think interest in Ngata and Harrison depends solely on price. I don’t see the Bills investing heavily in their defensive line with so much money tied up there already. Even if Mario Williams isn’t on the roster next year they still have some fat contracts with Dareus, Hughes and Kyle.

So the play there is to go for the affordable options and use draft choices. That probably means Damon Harrison is a more likely option than Haloti Ngata, who even at age 31 would probably command a higher price tag than Harrison, who is a role player.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills to what extent do you foresee Rob Ryan playing a part in the defense next season? #Bills

yamanboo

CB: Here’s how I see the Rob Ryan hiring playing out. After both of them had a down season in terms of defensive ranking there is great motivation by both to redeem themselves and their family name as it pertains to putting together great defensive units.

Rex trusts his brother to do right by the principles of the defense and I think Rob will probably have a heavy hand in the defensive planning. That will allow Rex to take on more of a big picture role as a head coach where he can focus more on the all-encompassing duties that job demands.

I’m not sure Rex will relinquish play calling duties on game day to Rob or anybody else for that matter, but with his title being Assistant head coach/Defense, it’s safe to say Rob Ryan will play a major role in getting this defense back to a level more typically associated with the Ryan name.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills Will the Ryan brothers realize that Mario Williams was right?

ItsjustJimmy

CB: I think this is what you need to consider before you blindly accept Mario Williams comments as truth. When there is a scheme change via a new coaching staff coming in there has to be 100 percent buy in from the players. If there is not 100 percent commitment, especially in a scheme as intricate as Rex Ryan’s it simply does not work.

Did Mario Williams buy into Rex Ryan’s scheme 100 percent at any point this season? When his role in this defensive scheme wasn’t to his liking did he still play to the best of his ability every snap, every week?

I will let Preston Brown answer that question for you with some comments he made with just two games left in the season after the team was eliminated from playoff contention.

“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. Mentally everybody wasn’t there.

“It’s something that we have to handle. 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.

“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. 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.”

As a side note I applaud Preston Brown for revealing just what the problems were this season. There were a couple of players that compromised the integrity and effectiveness of the scheme for the sake of their own self-interest. Fortunately a couple of young players stepped forward to lead this team and called out those players so a promising season doesn’t get submarined again.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills what’s the chances of the #Bills holding onto Mario Williams? Should they?

TheJokstr

CB: What we do know is Mario Williams contract is cost prohibitive. His $19.9M cap figure is something that has to be re-worked through restructuring or eliminated by some other means. Buffalo has free agent priorities in Cordy Glenn and Richie Incognito. Those contracts simply cannot get done without a giant contract like Williams’ being adjusted or taken care of in some other fashion.

I think most know that Mario Williams’ performance didn’t live up to his salary, and we know all too well why he feels he wasn’t effective in Rex Ryan’s scheme.

No matter which way you slice it his contract has to be addressed. I’m sure the Bills will exhaust every option to have it settled by the time they need to get Glenn and Incognito back under contract. Whether that means he’s here or not is another story.

 

5- @ChrisBrownBills Do you expect to see Buffalo run a more traditional 3-4 base defense this year, like we’ve seen from Rex in the past?

MustangMike23

CB: I don’t think it’s any secret that Rex Ryan wants to run a purer version of what has traditionally been successful for him defensively than what he ran in Buffalo this past season. He himself admitted that trying to blend some of the concepts from the 2014 Bills defense just didn’t work and had to scrap it midseason.

How far he goes in running a more traditional 3-4 will hinge on the talent turnover defensively from now until next spring. If the proper pieces are in place then it’s probably full steam ahead. If not, it might have more of a hybrid look to it like we saw in 2013 under Mike Pettine.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Official list of Bills free agents

Posted by Chris Brown on January 13, 2016 – 3:38 pm

Here is the official free agent listing for the Bills this offseason with both unrestricted and restricted free agents as well as exclusive rights free agents.

UNRESTRICTED
LB Nigel Bradham
CB Ron Brooks
DT Alex Carrington
OT Cordy Glenn
WR Leonard Hankerson
G Richie Incognito
QB Josh Johnson

RESTRICTED
DT Corbin Bryant
DT Stefan Charles
TE Marqueis Gray
WR Chris Hogan
OT Jordan Mills
LB Ty Powell
S Bacarri Rambo

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS
RB Cierre Wood


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley on free agency: We won’t be busy

Posted by Chris Brown on January 5, 2016 – 10:21 am

Bills GM Doug Whaley gave strong indication that Buffalo’s foray into free agency to add to the roster won’t be nearly as headline grabbing as last year when they signed Tyrod Taylor, Richie Incognito, Jerome Felton, Percy Harvin and signed Charles Clay to an offer sheet. In fact Buffalo’s personnel boss said the local media might as well take off for the first week of free agency in March.

“Right now with where we are the focus on the offseason will probably be retaining most of everything we have (that’s not under contract),” said Whaley. “We have some guys coming up that we think will be core to what we need to go forward. So that will be the focus. Our free agency is going to be signing our own guys and again that’s a compliment to our scouting staff. We’ve drafted well enough where these guys are coming up and we want to retain them.”

Whaley confirmed that two of their top priorities to re-sign are Cordy Glenn and Richie Incognito.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Free agent pickups paint good picture for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on December 9, 2015 – 9:36 am

The Bills made some key acquisitions in the offseason on the free agent market. They didn’t break the bank, but the value they’ve gotten on their investments has been impressive. That’s why two of Buffalo’s free agent acquisitions this past offseason ranked in Pro Football Focus’ Top 10 free agent pickups list.

PFF rated both Richie Incognito and Tyrod Taylor as two of the 10 best free agent pickups in the entire league this past offseason. Incognito was rated second and Taylor was rated seventh. Here’s what they wrote.

2. Richie Incognito, G, Bills (one year, $1.1 million, 91.3 overall grade)

The Bills acquired Incognito for practically nothing in the offseason, and he has responded by producing the third-best PFF grade among guards. Incognito has been almost equally good as a run blocker (89.7) and as a pass protector (87.9), allowing just three QB hits and hurries, tied for sixth among guards is pass blocking efficiency.

7. Tyrod Taylor, QB, Bills (three years, $3.35 million, 78.0 overall grade)

PFF’s 12th-highest rated QB through eight weeks, Taylor may be on this list as much for how the Bills have missed him than for his above-average play on the field thus far. Taylor has posted a 75.8 accuracy percentage under pressure, which is good for second among NFL QBs through Week 8. Meanwhile, the Bills are 0-2 without Taylor, with E.J. Manuel posting a 46.4 overall grade in his absence.

Buffalo is one of just two teams with more than one player on the PFF’s top free agent pickup list. The Raiders are the other with WR Michael Crabtree and DT Dan Williams.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Cherilus to visit Lions

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2015 – 8:00 am

After being cut by the Indianapolis Colts on Monday, free agent OT Gosder Cherilus is visiting his second NFL club this week.

After a visit Wednesday with the Bills at One Bills Drive, the veteran right tackle is scheduled to visit the Detroit Lions Thursday. That according to NFL Network and multiple reports.

The Lions were the club that made Cherilus a first-round pick in the 2008 NFL draft. The tackle spent his first five seasons in Detroit before signing with Indianapolis in free agency in 2013. Detroit just placed OT LaAdrian Waddle on Active PUP as he’s still recovering from ACL surgery this past offseason.

Buffalo has just four true offensive tackles on their roster and is on the lookout for additional depth at the position.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills