Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 2-10

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

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

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

Jonathan Yedin
@jonyedi

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

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

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


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

Lyndsey D’Arcangelo
@darcangel21

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

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

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

Does it cement his dismissal?

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

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

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


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

Jimmy
@ItsjustJimmy

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

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

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

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


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

Coach
@MoneyAce1984

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

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

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

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


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

Ian Campbell
@comedianian98

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

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

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills FA safety hopes he can give fans playoffs

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

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

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

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


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-6

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

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

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

Eddie Barnard
@eddie_barnard

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

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

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

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

Jimmy
@ItsjustJimmy

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

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

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

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

 

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

Patmerica
@PatBle

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

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

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

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

Last year’s low tender was $1.671 million.

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

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

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

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

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

PJ Persichini
@PJP3rd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ronald Krzal Jr

@Ronnie_Krzal

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

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

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

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

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

With Taylor signed, focus shifts to Gilmore

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

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

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

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


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 7-29

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

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

1 – Chris,

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

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

 

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

Rick

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

 

3 – Chris,

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

Josh

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

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

Thanks
Don Palmere

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

 
5 – Hi, Chris.

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

Thanks,
Ian

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

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

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Washington may add veteran RB

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

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

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

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

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


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Posted in Inside the Bills

One-year deal players aplenty for Bills

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

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

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

Bills GM Doug Whaley explained the club’s approach.

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

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

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


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Boldin to sign with Lions

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

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

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

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


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills and RB Bush still talking

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

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

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

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


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gilmore & Taylor among top 25 2017 free agents

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 7-22

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2016 – 11:39 am

Only a week until training camp opens Bills fans. We’ll be covering it all for you here on Buffalobills.com. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

If the Bush ship sails, any chance that Rex gives Ray Rice his last chance?

@GraysonTumult

CB: I really can’t see that happening. With such a greater focus on domestic violence in the NFL these days, which includes a league wide ad campaign to raise awareness on the subject, I can’t see Buffalo taking that kind of step.

Last year’s training camp should serve as a perfect example on the likelihood of that happening. All five running backs on Buffalo’s training camp roster were all injured at the same time last summer and Ray Rice was not brought in. I don’t see that changing if Reggie Bush elects to sign and play elsewhere.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you think the Bills pass on signing Gilmore if Kevon Seymour has a great preseason?

@ZWinterberg

CB: While I think your question is a valid one, I believe the likelihood of signing Gilmore to a long term extension has more to do with the market value of top flight cornerbacks than it does with how well Kevon Seymour comes along in the preseason.

I think they’d like to return Gilmore to the fold long term, but the state of the cornerback market might not allow it.

As I’ve stated more than once on this very page, the Josh Norman deal completely turned the market value at cornerback on its ear. Getting $15M per season from Washington after his franchise tag was rescinded by Carolina threw the cornerback market completely out of whack.

If a zone corner can get $15M/yr. then upcoming free agents like Stephon Gilmore who play almost exclusively man-to-man will likely see getting that much or probably more as fair market value. I’m confident the Bills are not going to enter the $15M/yr. territory.

Could I see the Bills going $12.5M/yr. like the Giants free agent deal for Janoris Jenkins this spring?

Yes.

Would that be enough for Gilmore?

I think it would need to have a lot more guaranteed money than Jenkins’ $28.8M has in his contract for it to happen.

The Norman deal unfortunately could push negotiations between the Bills and Gilmore into an area where Buffalo could potentially be fiscally irresponsible as it pertains to the rest of their roster. And the Bills probably won’t, and should not, do that.

I think if Seymour performs well in the preseason it only helps the Bills front office breathe a bit easier should they reach an impasse with the Gilmore camp on a new contract. At least then they would feel like they have a promising prospect in the pipeline to eventually replace Gilmore in 2017 if all hope is lost on a Gilmore extension.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

With suspensions and off field stuff at RB, do you anticipate McCoy being very limited through camp and preseason?

@rockydm92

CB: I think the plan all along was to limit LeSean McCoy’s workload through training camp and the preseason. It has less to do with the recent suspension of Karlos Williams and DUI arrest of Jonathan Williams, and more to do with what happened last summer at training camp.

After sustaining his hamstring injury, McCoy was not the same player for the 2015 season. He was still very good, but not the game breaking talent that has made him one of the most dynamic backs in the league.

The Bills want to ensure they have the game breaking McCoy in their offensive backfield come September, so the plan all along was to pace McCoy. Give him enough work where he’s ready for the regular season, but not so much that he runs the risk of injury or going into the season hobbled.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills would Donald Trump still be able to run for president if he succeeded in purchasing the team?

@JLasher10

CB: Based on what I’ve been able to uncover with respect to executive branch government employees and conflicts of interest, there are ethics rules that require them to divest themselves of stock or property only if they are appointed to their positions (e.g. Secretary of the Treasury). Trump however, would be holding an elected position so those rules would not apply to him.

So not having an expert background by any means on government employee bylaws it appears he can continue as CEO and President of his Trump organization while also serving as President of the United States were he elected.

So if his business holdings included ownership of an NFL team that would appear to be permissible as well.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

How was John Miller looking through OTAs?

@JustinWestfall

CB: Keeping in mind that Miller as an offensive lineman is not playing real football in the spring practices as it pertains to his playing duties (full contact blocking) it’s hard to provide you with a true picture of how he performed on the field. That being said I can tell you that Miller has benefitted from an offseason in an NFL strength and conditioning program as opposed to prepping for the NFL Combine and pre-draft workouts.

I just think he’s the kind of player that will make quality advances in his game as a second-year player based on the 12 games of experience he got last year. Keep in mind also that he played most of last season injured with a high-ankle sprain. Now that he’s healthy it’ll be interesting to see how he can perform when he’s 100 percent.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

RB Bush still weighing his options

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2016 – 9:51 am

Earlier this week Buffalobills.com confirmed that a contract offer had been extended to free agent RB Reggie Bush by the Bills. Bush, who is coming off an ACL knee injury last November, is training hard this offseason, but is still biding his time in terms of deciding where to play.

In an interview with USA Today, Bush made it clear that he does intend to continue his NFL career, but he has not reached a decision on where he will play.

“I know everybody’s been texting me and asking about Buffalo, but as of right now, I haven’t made a decision,” Bush told USA Today. “But if the opportunity is there, obviously, Buffalo is the most known one right now. But we’ll see. I’m still trying to figure out what’s going to be the best opportunity for me and my family.”

At age 31, sustaining an ACL injury led some to think that he might choose to end his NFL career. Instead Bush said it only inspired him more to come back.

“I think when you come off of an injury, you’re that much more motivated to bounce back and to prove that you can still be you,” he said. “And not only to people, but to yourself, as well. That’s my motivation: just to bounce back. And I don’t want to end a career — ever — on an injury. Not that I’m ready to hang it up, but I’m definitely on the back end of my career. I want to put together a solid couple years of really just playing healthy football.”

Bush sounds realistic about the state of his NFL career. He knows he’s on the back side of his playing days, and said when he feels he’s lost a step he’ll walk away from the game. But he’s convinced that time has not yet arrived.

“I know that right now, I’m not ready to shut it down yet,” he said. “I’ve got some good years left.”

Bush hasn’t jumped at Buffalo’s contract offer because for a running back in his situation it pays to wait. Once training camp opens across the league there will inevitably be injuries at the running back position, including some serious ones. That alone could present more favorable opportunities with other NFL clubs that offer more in the way of playing time than Buffalo can currently offer.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Bills interested in RB Reggie Bush

Posted by Chris Brown on July 18, 2016 – 11:22 am

There has been a lot of speculation that the Bills might be on the lookout for veteran RB help with Karlos Williams suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season following violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport first reported that Buffalo had a certain free agent running back they are interested in.

Buffalobills.com confirmed that the Bills have presented Bush with a contract offer.

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According to NFL.com the Bills have made a contract offer to Bush.

Bush is coming off an ACL injury in the 2015 season, suffered when he slipped at the Edwards Jones Dome in St. Louis last season after running out of bounds and slipping awkwardly on the concrete where the turf field ended.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Free agent RB Foster works out for Miami today

Posted by Chris Brown on July 18, 2016 – 10:23 am

Free agent RB Arian Foster is probably the best veteran ball carrier still on the market, and he’ll be working out for the Miami Dolphins today. ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported Miami’s interest along with another club.

The Detroit Lions will reportedly work out Foster later this week, provided the Dolphins don’t sign him first.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

A closer look at Bills free agent bargains

Posted by Chris Brown on July 12, 2016 – 11:08 am

This offseason some NFL clubs threw a ton of money around. Philadelphia and Jacksonville were the most egregious examples ($543M & $357M). There were some interesting figures though concerning the Bills, who made a concerted effort to add free agent bargains who have a respectable amount of playing experience in the league.

Spotrac put together a look at the offseason spending of NFL clubs in 2016 and the Bills ranked 21st in total offseason spending. The contract extensions for Cordy Glenn and Richie Incognito were largely responsible for Buffalo’s total spending figure as more than $75M of their $152M spending total went to in-house extensions (49%).

The Bills, despite signing the 11th highest number of free agents this offseason (12), they spent the least amount of money ponying up just over $10.5M.

Buffalo signed a handful of free agents to one-year deals with several agreeing to veteran exemption deals that provides additional cap relief to a team. Among some of the notables in that category were CB Corey White, S Robert Blanton, WR Leonard Hankerson and TE Jim Dray.

The front office did spend a good amount of money on players signed off waivers where they ranked fourth in total spending, committing more than $25M.


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Rob Ryan: CB Corey White is a gamer

Posted by Chris Brown on June 22, 2016 – 8:53 am

As we profiled on Buffalobills.com today, one of the main reasons Corey White was signed by the Bills was because of Assistant head coach Rob Ryan’s familiarity with the cornerback. He coached him in New Orleans for three seasons and says there’s a lot to like about the veteran DB.

In a recent appearance on the John Murphy Show, Ryan explained what he likes about White’s game and why he thinks White will like playing in Buffalo’s defense.

“Corey’s a very good football player and I think he’s going to love it here,” Ryan said. “He’s going to love the head coach, number one. This is a tough kid, he’s a hard-nosed kid, but he needs somebody to believe in him and he’s got that here in Buffalo.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: FA WR Roberts signs with Lions

Posted by Chris Brown on June 13, 2016 – 10:32 am

The Bills had a free agent wide receiver pay a visit to Orchard Park last month, but Andre Roberts has reportedly signed with the Detroit Lions.

According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan, Roberts has agreed to a one-year deal with Detroit.

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Roberts visited the Bills on May 19th last month after he was released by Washington.

And the Lions may not be done at the receiver position. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter they’re hosting veteran Anquan Boldin on a free agent visit today.

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Bills not pursuing FAs Boldin or Freeney now

Posted by Chris Brown on May 24, 2016 – 1:23 pm

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Tuesday morning GM Doug Whaley addressed the prospect of pursuing a veteran free agent pass rusher or receiver in light of the recent offseason surgeries for Shaq Lawson and Sammy Watkins.

Whaley said at this point they haven’t made contact with those veteran free agents, though he wouldn’t rule anything out.

“We always keep our options open. We never say never,” said Whaley. “We haven’t reached out and contacted anybody right now. We’re looking at the development of the guys we have on the roster and some of the young guys. But we always keep our options open and our pro personnel department headed by Rob Hanrahan, those guys always keep me abreast of who is out there and we continually update what we call our short list.”

When asked specifically about Boldin, Whaley again reiterated that they want to see how some of the youth on their roster comes along during spring practices.

“We want to see what we have and the development of the guys on the roster in the OTAs,” he said. “Guys like that we look at as consummate professionals. They’re always going to be in shape and if the time comes where we think the guys aren’t progressing like we need them to that’s when you look at a guy like Anquan Boldin or a Dwight Freeney, but right now we want to develop some young guys with an eye on the future saying those guys are out there if for needs sake we need to pick them up.”

It’s clear that Whaley believes time is on his side before the need may arise to make a move of this nature. When you’re trying to develop young players you don’t want to steal reps from them with a vet and delay their improvement.

There is a report that Freeney had a workout scheduled with the Bengals today.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-20

Posted by Chris Brown on May 20, 2016 – 12:18 pm

Bills OTAs get rolling on Monday. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Why haven’t Bills looked at Anquan Boldin as he seems to fit what they need a WR. Thanks!

BC72 @bchud1972

CB: I think there could be a number of issues at play here. First, Boldin, though productive last season (69 rec. 789 yds, 4 TDs) is 35-years old. Second, and probably more important is the Bills are probably in a position where they could only offer a veteran receiver the league minimum, and with Boldin a 10-plus year player he would cost $985K. As accomplished as Boldin is I don’t know if he would play a 14th NFL season for that.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills Bills have any interest in Dwight Freeney or Greg Hardy?

joseph tadak @jt9591

CB: I don’t see Greg Hardy as a realistic option due to his off the field issues. No one else seems all that interested either. I understand fans trying to connect the dots to a veteran to fill the potential void left by Shaq Lawson’s surgery, which will probably keep him out for a portion of the first half of the season.

I wonder how much of a commitment the Bills would want to make to a stop gap solution. If they were to sign Freeney and he was on the roster beyond Week 1 his contract would be guaranteed even if they released him once Lawson returned to the roster.

I don’t know if that’s a good call for someone who would be a part-time player (pass rush specialist).

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills Do you see Gilmore or Taylor getting extended before season, during season, or after if at all?

Grayson Tumult @GraysonTumult

CB: I believe the likelihood of a new deal for Gilmore before/during the season is greater than Taylor. The reason why is the Bills probably want to see Taylor take the next step in his development during the season. Then if they have to back up the Brinks truck to keep him after the season is over, so be it.

The reason Gilmore’s deal will probably take a bit longer is because Washington threw the whole cornerback market out of whack with their contract for Josh Norman ($15M/yr.) after Carolina rescinded his franchise tag, making him a free agent.

With Norman at age 28 getting $15M per year and he’s largely a zone coverage corner, it makes it difficult for Buffalo to negotiate with Gilmore’s camp when he’s 27 and plays a more demanding role at corner as he’s often in man-to-man.

I think top 10 cornerback money is realistic for Gilmore. Top five money might be a different story, and if the Gilmore camp is looking for that it could make for a longer negotiation.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills Any real worries with Watkins foot? Similar to Dez foot injury that kept him out all year?

jason plunkett @j_plunk

CB: First, Dez Bryant did not miss the whole year. He injured the foot in Week 1 and missed the next six weeks. The Cowboys rushed him back and he struggled through the rest of the season, but suited up and played in eight of the last nine games.

I expect the Bills to go to school on how things played out with Bryant and Julian Edelman for that matter, who also needed a second surgery because he came back too soon in the playoffs.

I’m not a doctor, but based on what I’ve read, Watkins’ Jones fracture, a common injury for NFL wide receivers, usually takes longer to heal (8-12 weeks) than most fractures (six weeks) because the blood supply to that area of the foot isn’t as good as other parts of the body. That’s why the surgery has a screw inserted in that area to promote the healing of the bone.

The Cowboys tried to get Bryant back in six weeks and it was too soon. That’s why I think even though Sammy Watkins will be right around the 12-week mark at the start of training camp I would not expect to see him do much of anything on the field until the second full week of camp at the earliest.

And even then it will be a slow and steady process. Yes, reps with his quarterback are important, but most important is Watkins’ availability on Sundays in September. If the process is rushed risk of re-injury increases.

Being patient with a player of his caliber is difficult for fans, but the payoff is he’ll be less likely to run into future problems with the foot during the season.

 

5 – Chris,

Last year’s defense was a disappointment. Veteran players could not fully adapt to this complicated front seven scheme then play at a high level. Also, expectations turned out to be unrealistically high.

Is there any way 3 rookies can leap to the NFL, play in this same defensive front, simplified or not, and have success? Or do we need to start managing expectations now to avoid more disappointment?

Thanks,
Ron

CB: From what I have been able to gather Rex Ryan and Dennis Thurman have reduced the number of checks pre-snap on defensive play calls for this season knowing the problem it presented last season. Whether they’ve found the happy balance between remaining unpredictable while allowing their players to play fast remains to be seen, but the effort was made to make execution of the defensive system easier for the players.

As for the rookies, Adolphus Washington’s position doesn’t require as much pre-snap adjustment as Reggie Ragland or Shaq Lawson. Ragland doesn’t have to run the defense, that will be on Preston Brown, but as GM Doug Whaley mentioned the scheme Ragland ran at Alabama is very similar to that of Buffalo’s defense. Ragland has said there’s a lot of carryover that’s a plus.

Lawson might have the toughest time adjusting knowing he’s likely to miss the offseason practices and some time in the first half of the season. Not having those physical reps could make it hard on the top pick to assimilate himself into the defense.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-13

Posted by Chris Brown on May 13, 2016 – 12:42 pm

It’s a special Friday the 13th edition of Fan Friday. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills will the Bills bring in a 4th QB to compete for backup position?

Ace Jay Legend @BillsBacker77

CB: I am not anticipating a fourth quarterback coming in to compete. The main reason why is Cardale Jones needs as many reps as he can possibly get to develop consistent mechanics. From his drop backs to his throwing mechanics, Jones needs all the work he can get in the practice setting. If there’s a fourth quarterback here, every rep he takes is a rep that Jones doesn’t get.

With Jones being a long-term investment I can’t see the Bills bringing in a fourth QB, who is a long shot to make the roster anyway, taking reps away from Jones on the back end of the quarterback rotation in the practice setting.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills with the Bills taking listenbee in the draft how are the chances Goodwin makes the team?

Jared Bailey @JaredBailey23

CB: I think that’s a very valid question. There’s no denying that Listenbee’s speed rivals that of Goodwin. Listenbee also offers superior size and in watching his game tape is really good at tracking the deep ball. He’s coming off sports hernia surgery and also has inflammation of the pelvis, which will take time to heal.

Listenbee may not be getting physical reps in the practice setting until training camp, so unseating Goodwin for a roster spot might take longer than some might anticipate.

Goodwin has been given the freedom to pursue a spot on the 2016 Olympic team to try to compete in the long jump in Rio. If he makes the Olympic team it will cost him time in training camp with the Olympics taking place in August. I believe that will pose the biggest risk for Goodwin losing a roster spot than Listenbee’s presence on the roster.

There are no ‘seat saves’ in the NFL. That’s a crucial part of the NFL calendar to be missing time.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills do you think the drafting of Washington means anything regarding Kyle Williams future with the team?

JBills32 @JLasher10

CB: If you’re asking whether Kyle’s roster spot could be in jeopardy because Washington is on the roster my answer is no. The plan right now is for Washington to be the team’s left defensive end, with Dareus at nose tackle and Kyle starting at right defensive end.

I don’t think it’s any secret that Kyle is on the back side of his career, but I think the Bills would like to get two more seasons out of him (2016 & 2017) as long as he’s interested in doing so.

The hidden additional value with Kyle is his leadership, which was sorely missed in the locker room last season when he went out in Week 6 with his knee injury (see: Mario Williams).

The addition of Washington should be seen as a complement to the games of Dareus and Williams, not a threat.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills Do you see the Bills making any FA/Trade moves along the right side of the offensive line?

Kevin @KevinMassare

CB: I don’t think you can ever rule out a possible move with Doug Whaley as GM. If it makes sense and improves the team he’s shown he’s willing to do it. I know Peter King reported last month that the 49ers would be interested in trading former first-round pick OT Anthony Davis, who chose to take a one-year sabbatical from football, and now wants to resume his NFL career.

A proven player who is just 26-years old would probably come at a high price, even after taking off a year. It would be interesting to see what the 49ers would be looking for in return, even though San Francisco GM Trent Baalke has told Davis that he is not interested in trading him.

His cap hit, if his old contract was re-instated, would be just over $5M for 2016, a bargain by most standards for a player of his caliber. But that’s where things could get sticky too. If he is going to be traded, must that team negotiate a new contract with him? A lot of potential hurdles there.

Besides him there are some veteran guard options out there, but I believe the Bills might play the wait and see game. I don’t believe there’s any sense of panic there. I think they feel good about what they have to work with.
5 – Chris,

How do you feel about the Bills 1st round pick considering who was available? Nkemdiche for example. I feel like it was a bit of a homer pick considering Rex wore a Clemson helmet to a press conference. Do you think he was on the top of our board or was Rex being Rex?

Great work as always Chris!  Thanks!

CB: As you saw in our Inside the Draft Room feature and video, the Bills never even thought Shaq Lawson would be available to them there at 19. They had him off the board by the 12th pick in their final stack of the board based on how they thought the first round would fall.

For them Lawson was a tremendous value there at 19. As for Nkemdiche, it was evident that his off the field concerns and on the field concerns were too much for a number of teams besides the Bills. Buffalo just parted ways with a player who did not give his best on the field for the last 10 weeks of last season in Mario Williams. Did you really think they would bring in another player with a history of similar play, especially with their first-round pick?

There was no way that was going to happen.


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Posted in Inside the Bills