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Inside The Bills

Felton’s scouting report on Cassel

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2015 – 2:34 pm

Last year Bills new FB Jerome Felton was a teammate of Matt Cassel in Minnesota. Felton watched how Cassel won the starting quarterback job in a competition with rookie first-round pick Teddy Bridgewater. A Week 3 foot injury cost Cassel the rest of the 2014 season, but his approach to the game and his success in landing the starting job impressed Felton, who is once again his teammate in Buffalo.

In an interview with Buffalobills.com right after he signed his contract with the Bills, Felton called Cassel a true pro and his presence on Buffalo’s roster only reinforced his desire to sign with the Bills.

“It was unfortunate last year when he got hurt. He had put a lot of work in and had a really good camp and we felt good about him going into the season,” Felton told Buffalobills.com. “So when I saw that he had signed here it made me more excited. I was already pretty much bought in and I wanted to be here and they wanted me here and when I saw that he was coming I got even more excited. He’s a true professional. He comes to work every day. He’s going to push whoever is already here and push to be the starting quarterback. There’s a lot of work that goes into it and he’s going to put it in every day.”


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Jerome Felton update

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2015 – 1:02 pm

The Bills have a few players in for free agent visits here Wednesday at One Bills Drive. Free agent TE Charles Clay, FB Jerome Felton and QB Tyrod Taylor are all meeting with coaches and touring the facilities. GM Doug Whaley laid out where things stand with Felton at this point after he arrived in town Monday night.

Whaley was asked in the press conference that introduced QB Matt Cassel, who came via trade with Minnesota, if there’s a deal in place with the free agent fullback.

“No, we do not,” said Whaley. “We’re in the midst of negotiating. That’s one of those things where you bring him in town. They’ve got to get a feel for us, we’ve got to get a feel for them. They have to take a physical. It’s a whole process and then once everybody agrees that we should start talking numbers then we start talking numbers.”


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Charles Clay update

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2015 – 12:44 pm

Miami free agent TE Charles Clay is in the midst of a visit at One Bills Drive where he’s meeting with coaches and taking a physical. Bills GM Doug Whaley commented on where things sit with Buffalo’s interest in signing Clay to an offer sheet being the Dolphins transition player.

“That’s what we’re determining now with the visit and have him talk to the coaches because it has to be a mutual thing. It’s up to him which offer he takes back,” said Whaley of Clay. “That’s why it’s important for him to get in here, talk to the coaches, take a physical and get a general feeling of what we can offer him and he can offer us.”

When asked what their strategy is in terms of putting an offer sheet together Whaley painted a picture of just how uncertain the outcome of the offer sheet process is.

“Our strategy is if we do decide to do something like that you put your best foot forward and hope for the best,” said Whaley.

If the Bills do sign Clay to an offer sheet, the Dolphins would have five days to match the offer to keep the tight end in Miami.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Bills extend Kyle Williams

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2015 – 10:50 am

The Buffalo Bills have reportedly made a move to keep their top flight defensive line together longer, while likely creating cap space for the here and now.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter the Bills have extended veteran DT Kyle Williams contract an additional year.

While the team has not yet confirmed the extension, if the report is accurate, it’s likely a move to provide more cap space for the team in 2015 to allow them to make the additions to the roster they want. If the extension is legitimate Williams will be under contract with Buffalo through the 2017 season.


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Report: G Boling close to re-signing with Cincy

Posted by Chris Brown on March 10, 2015 – 9:22 pm

The offensive line market in free agency is drying up quickly and another quality guard could soon be off the market.

That according to Bengals.com lead writer Geoff Hobson. He’s reporting that Cincinnati free agent guard Clint Boling is close on a new deal with the Bengals.

Buffalo is in the market for offensive line help either at guard or tackle. Boling is considered one of the top guards on the market this offseason, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll be around much longer.


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Report: Bulaga expected to re-sign with Pack

Posted by Chris Brown on March 10, 2015 – 12:50 pm

All along Green Bay free agent offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga has said he wanted to re-sign with the Packers as he crept closer and closer to free agency. It appears now that his wish will come to fruition before he hits the market.

That according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Bulaga was widely considered one of the best offensive tackle options on the free agent market.


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Report: Titans to land free agent S Searcy

Posted by Chris Brown on March 10, 2015 – 12:47 pm

It was not expected that the Bills would be able to keep free agent safety Da’Norris Searcy in the fold moving into 2015. Now as the window of free agency is poised to open there are reports as to just where the safety is headed.

According to the Tennessean, Searcy is going to sign with the Tennessee Titans at 4 pm when the market opens.

 

Bills GM Doug Whaley has stated since the NFL Combine last month that trying to re-sign Searcy was going to prove difficult. With Searcy looking for starter money and big money already being doled out to Devin McCourty in New England (5 yrs, $47.5M) and Buffalo heavily invested in Aaron Williams, paying big money for Searcy just wasn’t feasible.

Fortunately Buffalo has a lot of safety talent on the roster. Duke Williams, Baccari Rambo, Johnathan Meeks and Kenny Ladler are all young players who will vie for the starting job left vacant by Searcy.


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Report: Jets to re-sign RB Powell

Posted by Chris Brown on March 10, 2015 – 11:39 am

The Bills were reported to be interested in Jets free agent RB Bilal Powell as the start of free agency rapidly approached, but reports now indicate that Powell may never reach the market.

The New York Daily News is reporting that Powell will re-sign with the Jets, agreeing to a multi-year deal.

The Bills may or may not choose to sift through the free agent market for another back or they could turn their attention to the draft to fortify the position where the class of running backs is very deep.


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Report: Bills targeting TE Clay, FB Felton

Posted by Chris Brown on March 10, 2015 – 8:19 am

The free agent speculation has already begun. The latest concerning the Bills has them in pursuit of a free agent tight end and fullback.

That according to CBS Sports’ Jason LaCanfora, who is reporting that Buffalo is targeting Miami free agent TE Charles Clay and may also be in the hunt for Minnesota free agent FB Jerome Felton.

Clay isn’t much of a surprise as he fits the mold of a versatile tight end, something that offensive coordinator Greg Roman likes to have in his offense. GM Doug Whaley also said last month at the NFL Combine that the team would be in need of a fullback with a power run scheme set to be implemented as well. Felton is widely considered to be the best fullback on the market.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Other NFL teams tried to get to Hughes

Posted by Chris Brown on March 9, 2015 – 2:18 pm

The Bills still did not have free agent Jerry Hughes signed, sealed and delivered when the league’s three-day negotiating window opened on March 7th, three days prior to the start of free agency. The three-day period allows NFL clubs to contact prospective free agents of other teams to express their interest and gauge a player’s willingness to consider moving on to another club. Here’s where things stood as the negotiations with Buffalo and the Hughes camp carried into the weekend.

There were a handful of teams that got in touch with the Hughes camp, but it was evident that enough progress had been made between Hughes and the Bills according to GM Doug Whaley.

“I think they were so close (with us) that we felt very good about it,” Whaley told Buffalobills.com. “But in this business until that contract is signed you’re always going to have a bit of nervousness to you, but (Bills Senior VP of Football Administration) Jim Overdorf kept us abreast of the negotiations and he felt real strongly about getting the deal done.”

Hughes admitted there were other teams that contacted him.

“Yeah there (were other teams calling), but we were still listening to Buffalo,” Hughes told Buffalobills.com. “I made it clear to them especially from my point of view I made it clear to my camp that this was the place I wanted to be.


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Whaley: O-line on our to-do list

Posted by Chris Brown on March 9, 2015 – 2:11 pm

In an one-on-one interview with Buffalobills.com on Jerry Hughes signing day, Bills GM Doug Whaley said in the wake of keeping Buffalo’s talented defensive line intact, the focus will now shift to the other side of the trenches.

When asked about the possibilities of the defensive front four in 2015, Whaley acknowledge with Rex Ryan as head coach the sky is the limit. He then freely expressed their intentions to address the offensive line as well.

“I think it’s going to be a whirlwind on and off the field for the Bills organization,” said Whaley. “With the continuity of those front four guys coming at you… Rex’s philosophy is to build from the inside out so we’ve got that on the defensive line. Now we’ve got some stuff that we’re going to do on the offensive line to make this a competitive team.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills trade for Hughes not lost on pass rusher

Posted by Chris Brown on March 9, 2015 – 1:06 pm

Money is what usually does all the talking for NFL free agents, but for Jerry Hughes, though well compensated by the Bills, there was another key factor – his opportunity to finally play after he was acquired by the Bills.

Hughes toiled in Indianapolis his first three NFL seasons as a backup who rarely saw the field on defense. His work ethic never wavered, but he did wonder if he’d ever be able to prove himself as a professional.

Then Buffalo GM Doug Whaley swung the trade that sent LB Kelvin Sheppard to the Colts for Hughes. Despite not having much NFL game tape to go on the fact that the Bills wanted him meant something to Hughes and he never forgot it. It was a major reason Hughes wanted to continue his career in Buffalo.

“Doug Whaley to kind of come about me in the way he did in that trade, showed that someone wanted me,” Hughes said. “When someone wants you, you want to come back. You want to put your best out there and give it your all. Want to go out and win a couple championships and make it memorable. When someone goes about a trade like that, I definitely want to give it back in full.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Hughes: Bills were impossible to walk away from

Posted by Chris Brown on March 9, 2015 – 11:37 am

When the window for NFL clubs to talk with prospective free agents from other teams opened on March 7th, Jerry Hughes was a popular target. And though Hughes acknowledged that his representatives listened, they knew where their client stood in terms of where he wanted to play in 2015 and beyond.

In an interview with Buffalobills.com shortly after re-signing with Buffalo, Jerry Hughes admitted that other teams were in contact with his camp during the three-day contact window, but that his agent knew his preference from the start.

“Yeah there (were other teams calling), but we were still listening to Buffalo,” Hughes said. “I made it clear to them especially from my point of view I made it clear to my camp that (Buffalo) was the place I wanted to be.”

Hughes also said that the hiring of Rex Ryan only added to his desire to return to the Bills.

“Playing on a defense now where Rex Ryan is taking over and he’s the head coach and you hear all the great things from the players all over the league about how much they respect him and love him and how great of a coach he is. With someone like that who is now leading the team you don’t want to miss any type of involvement in that because you know he’s going to bring us all along the right way,” he said. “He’ll get us all moving as one unit. For us to be so close (to the playoffs) I feel like with him taking over, Terry and Kim (Pegula) did a fabulous job adding a couple more guys to the mix it made the team impossible to walk away from.”


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Jets scoop up LB David Harris

Posted by Chris Brown on March 6, 2015 – 2:26 pm

The Jets under new head coach Todd Bowles needs to rebuild a good portion of their roster. If free agent LB David Harris left he’d be another hole to fill. So New York on the heels of trading for WR Brandon Marshall paid Harris a lot of money.

Essentially the three-year deal he received is a two-year pact with $15M guaranteed in 2015 and 2016.

If a 31-year old LB can command $7.5M a year free agent linebackers set to hit the market are going to be pretty happy come Tuesday.


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Fan Friday 3-6

Posted by Chris Brown on March 6, 2015 – 11:30 am

The Bills have been busy this week. Next week free agency opens when more additions figure to be made. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Any chance Trent Cole wants to join Shady in Buffalo? Any shot Bills go for that?

_BNewman9

CB: If you’re thinking of signing Cole to replace Jerry Hughes I don’t know that you’re getting comparable value. So if saving money is the aim you could sign Cole, who will be 33 in October and he could serve the team in a rotational role as a pass rusher, perhaps platooning with Manny Lawson much like Hughes and Lawson did in 2013. Cole still has gas left in the tank, but a full-time role might be a lot to ask.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills

What about Hughes???

netz720

CB: The Bills would still like to get Hughes locked up long term, but it’s my belief that after Justin Houston was franchised in Kansas City and Jason Pierre-Paul was franchised in New York that the Hughes camp looked at the free agent market and likely felt they had an opportunity to be the most coveted pass rusher on the market.

Hughes doesn’t have the off the field issues of Greg Hardy and he doesn’t have the injury history of Brian Orakpo. There isn’t a free agent pass rusher with more sacks over the past two seasons than Hughes’ 20.

So once Houston and Pierre-Paul were franchised it wouldn’t surprise me if Hughes’ asking price suddenly increased. If getting the most money he can possibly get trumps the best possible fit for him to maximize his abilities on the field (Buffalo) that’s his prerogative. We’ll see where it goes between now and March 10th.

 

3 – Chris:

With most of the NFL Teams going to the lighter/quicker defenses because the NFL is more of a passing league, do you think that Rex’s “ground and pound” could give the Bills Offense an advantage if they shore up the OL.

I also feel with this philosophy EJ Manuel will be an improved QB. He will have more windows to throw into once defenses start cheating in the box by playing the run.   There were parts of EJ’s game that were good. Two of which were the 2 min offense and the ability to keep plays alive in the pocket when he didn’t have restrictions put on him.  Your thoughts?

Thanks
Joe
Blasdell

CB: I think your point is an astute one. San Francisco took that approach under Jim Harbaugh and Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman back in 2011. As most teams were building lighter and faster lines in the trenches the 49ers bulked up and punched everybody in the teeth. It’s a big reason why their run game was so successful.

I do believe such an approach can work again because the trend in the league is still gravitating toward passing. But if you don’t know what you have at quarterback the ground and pound approach knowing you have a good defense is the best route to take.

 

4 – Chris,

Love your work in keeping a long time Bills fan (50 yrs plus) in touch.
My ? Is..is there a scout assigned to any good players in Canada? Like the
Grey Cup QB’s?  Just wondering.
Thanks for keeping us retired folks
Informed!

John Lowry
Ft. Myers, Fl.

CB: The Bills absolutely scout the CFL. In fact they were one of the first teams in pursuit of former CFL’er Cameron Wake, but he chose to sign with Miami. Buffalo covers any and all avenues where potential NFL talent can be uncovered.

 

5 – Chris,

Thank you for providing continuous coverage of the Buffalo Bills throughout the offseason as it helps us remain interested in the team for 365 days a year!

My question has to do with a recent comment made by Commissioner Roger Goodell.  While I am aware of the uncertainty that comes with Ralph Wilson Stadium and its future, his comment puzzled me to an extent.  Mr. Goodell mentioned that while the Ralph is loved (by him and by many including myself), the stadium cannot compete with the newer parks.

Please feel free to correct me, but to my knowledge the Ralph is one of the bigger stadiums in the league, we, for the most part, have not had problems selling out the tickets, and we have made recent upgrades such as video boards, concession stands, and the likes.

I understand many newer stadiums and sports economics are designed to cater more towards corporations and the use of Personal Seat Licenses.  I’m not sure if the market of Western New York can be said to support the same modern marketing formula as many major cities utilize in the US at this day.  WNY is a unique and rock solid fan base quite capable of supporting the Bills and the Sabres on our own.  Not suggesting that we wouldn’t benefit from a new park, but what did Mr. Goodell mean?

What other “challenges” or shortcomings does the Ralph have in respect to competing with the newer stadiums (that are sometimes smaller than ours and perhaps features not considered in the recent upgrades)?  This is where I am a bit lost and hopefully you can shed some light into this confusion.

Thank you and Go Bills!
Ryan from Arizona State University

CB: You’re not wrong that Ralph Wilson Stadium is one of the larger ones in the league, but regular ticket sales no longer provide the kind of revenue that carry a team’s profits comfortably into the black. It’s the luxury suites and premium seat sales that drive the ticket sales revenue streams.

To maximize a stadium’s ability to provide additional revenues NFL owners want more of a focus on the premium seating and luxury suites, which cost more to boost ticket sales revenues ever higher.

A few years ago I would agree that Buffalo’s corporate tax base would not be able to sufficiently fill such premium seating, but with the surge in construction downtown, new businesses coming to Buffalo and the new medical campus coming together in the city there could be the corporate base required to support such an endeavor right around the time when the team and the city make a final determination as to what’s best concerning a future home for the Bills.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Cassel vs. rest of free agent QB field

Posted by Chris Brown on March 4, 2015 – 12:51 pm


Buffalo’s acquisition of Minnesota veteran QB Matt Cassel is a move that when one looks into the numbers makes a good deal of sense. Here’s why.

The rest of the free agent quarterback field is largely made up of similar veteran players. Cassel’s career numbers, especially when it comes to TD-vs-INT and career starts (71) looks appreciably better. Add in the fact that Cassel is the only one on the below list with a Pro Bowl to his name and a division title (winning the AFC West in 2010) besides Michael Vick and it’s encouraging to see the Bills go after a veteran QB that they felt was best for their club.

Name                    G/GS     W-L-T    Comp.   Att.        Pct.        Yards     TD/INT  Rating  

Matt Cassel         91/71     33-38      1397     2369       59          15727    96/70   80.1       
Brian Hoyer        32/17     10-7         356         630         56.5        4557       19/19   76.8
Jake Locker         30/23     9-14       408         709         57.5          4967       27/22  79.0
Colt McCoy       33/25     7-18         501         831         60.3          5458       25/23  78.2
Matt Moore       49/25     11-12       452         768         58.9           5342       33/28   79.2
C. Ponder            38/36     14-21-1  632         1057       59.8          6658       38/36   75.9
Mark Sanchez    71/70     37-33      1226       2176       56.3          14510    82/80     74.1
Michael Vick     138/112 59-50-1    1767        3151       56.1        22093    131/87   80.4


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Spiller says time with Bills is over

Posted by Chris Brown on March 3, 2015 – 7:28 pm

Bills impending free agent RB C.J. Spiller in an appearance on NFL Network Tuesday night said he was contacted by the Bills a short time ago and thanked for his service to the team.

Spiller said he now knows he’ll be entering the free agent market next week.

“I will not be returning to Buffalo,” said Spiller.


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C.J. on what will influence free agent decision

Posted by Chris Brown on March 3, 2015 – 1:27 pm

Bills free agent RB C.J. Spiller made an appearance on NFL Network’s NFL AM show and was asked about his approach to making a free agent decision if and when multiple suitors are involved.

Spiller was asked if it’s about the money or his legacy.

“I think it’s both of those,” he said. “I’d be foolish and lying to you if I said it didn’t have anything to do with the money because everybody wants to be comfortable. Both of you guys know, in the NFL nothing is guaranteed so you want to make sure that you’re able to live comfortable once you’re done playing this game. And then also, you want to leave your imprint on this game too. You want people to be able to talk about you, not just about the player but also about the person. Like I said, I’m looking forward to it. There are different factors that I’m going to play into the situation when I’m deciding where I want to end up at. I know I’m going to make the best decision; I always have. When it came time to these types of decisions, I’ve always made the best decision for me and my family.”


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Spiller comments on free agency

Posted by Chris Brown on March 3, 2015 – 1:21 pm

C.J. Spiller was just responding to a question, but his answer has some believing he expects to reach the free agent market on March 10th.

In an appearance on NFL Network’s NFL AM show, Spiller was asked how he feels about being a free agent, with no new contract agreement in place with the Bills. This was his answer.

“To be honest, I’m excited about the opportunity,” said Spiller. “Obviously, you want to stay at a place that you have been there your whole career. But, as both of you guys know, sometimes that doesn’t happen in this business and you have to move on. You thank the organization for what they have done for you and you continue your career somewhere else. I’m looking forward to it. Me and my agent Chad Speck, we have a great game plan set and looking forward to attacking it.”

While you certainly cannot blame Spiller and his representative from having a plan for the free agent market, it also makes it sound less and less likely that the Bills free agent will be back in red, white and blue. Spiller also did say that while he hasn’t spoken to new offensive coordinator Greg Roman, he has studied the 49ers offense and didn’t close the door on a return to Buffalo.

“Anytime an offensive coordinator loves to run the ball, as a running back that’s what you want to do,” he said. “It’ll be a great opportunity if I do happen to go back because I know that both him and Rex [Ryan] want to run the ball; they want to ground and pound. It’ll be an awesome opportunity.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Miami uses transition tag on TE Clay

Posted by Chris Brown on March 2, 2015 – 3:08 pm

Miami TE Charles Clay was expected to be a popular free agent target were the Dolphins to allow him to reach the free agent market next week. It appears Miami has made it considerably harder for other NFL clubs to go after the versatile offensive player.

According to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Dolphins placed the transition tag on Clay Monday.

The Dolphins are hoping that the $7M figure drives other NFL interest away. Under the rules of the transition tag another NFL club can still sign Clay to an offer sheet and that Dolphins would have seven days to match the offer. If not Clay would sign with the club that made the offer and that team would not have to provide the Dolphins with any compensation. If Miami matched the offer sheet Clay would have to re-sign with the Dolphins.


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