Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 9-9

Posted by Chris Brown on September 9, 2016 – 11:54 am

Finally it’s time for the regular season! Here is the latest edition of your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris…

Was Dan Carpenter’s 2015 season a fluke or is there real concern? And is the rookie Marshall Morgan a legit replacement if needed or might they sign another vet?

Thanks…
Rick McGuire
(mclennon99)

CB: I think Carpenter’s only problem last season was extra points. He was 23-27 on field goals, so his field goal percentage was in the same relative range it always is. He missed four attempts in 2014, three in 2013 and five in 2012 (his last year with the Dolphins).

The extra point issue is difficult to explain. Carpenter has pointed to the fact that his hamstring injury a week before training camp cost him valuable reps. He basically missed all of camp and did not kick much in the preseason. So his preparation going into the season was not what it typically is. His swing wasn’t sharp and the extra point results made it evident.

The good news is this preseason Carpenter appears to be back to his old reliable self. His two 52-yard field goals at Washington on grass pretty much eliminated any doubt that anyone might have that he’s back. So I’m anticipating a solid season from Buffalo’s kicker.

 

2 – Hey Chris,

Thanks for answering my last question directly. It seems concerning a long term deal for Gilmore that if they can’t make a deal that the only thing left would be to use the tag next year, but that too would result in a high salary based on the existing salaries that are in place.

Bob

CB: I think both sides would prefer a long term extension. GM Doug Whaley said himself it’s going to be a process. I think there are a lot of things that have to be worked out in terms of average annual salary, guaranteed money, bonuses, etc.

There have also been extensions signed by other cornerbacks of late that have soared above the perceived market value for top corners (see: Josh Norman) and have been more in line with what the Bills might be more apt to hand out (see: Darius Slay).

Hopefully the prospect of the franchise tag will be enough of a deterrent for both sides to reach a multi-year extension.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills What is the key matchup you are looking at this Sunday against the Ravens? #GoBills

Karl Feltes@Karl_79

CB: Key matchup for me is LeSean McCoy against Baltimore’s linebackers. I like the matchup for Buffalo because McCoy’s speed and elusiveness is a bad match for the Ravens. Baltimore’s linebackers are stack and stuff types not run and hit linebackers. If Greg Roman can get McCoy isolated in one-on-one matchups in space at the second level he’ll be a very big headache for Baltimore’s defense.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills what do you think about @buffalobills winning 9 or 10 games? #gobills

Magic Mike Ferrara@notwhipped4life

CB: I think it’s realistic. The main reason why is I think Tyrod Taylor’s play at quarterback will take the next step. The advancements I’ve seen in his game has me confident that he’ll be able to pull out two to three games in the end that perhaps the Bills were unable to win in years past. Those two or three wins I believe will be the difference this season.
5 – Chris,

Why does it seem there is no concern for the back-up quarterback position? EJ has shown flashes but his inconsistency of play scares me. Week 7 against the Jags, EJ posted a 19.2 QBR with a 2nd quarter, 3 consecutive play meltdown. This resulted in a fumble recovered for touchdown, interception recovered for touchdown and an interception in a game we should have and needed to win but didn’t.

With Tyrod being a quarterback who isn’t afraid to use his legs, I feel it is more likely the our QB2 keeps us from reaching the Superbowl than the #3 wideout battle, the running back depth or who is going to play OLB with both Lawson’s out. Do you think the Bills will look to add a vet QB before the start of the regular season? How does EJ’s production rank compared to other back-ups in the league? How has his play looked in practice?

Brady from Vermont

CB: I know that a lot of fans lost their faith in EJ Manuel as a backup QB after watching that Jacksonville game. Everyone remembers the three major errors, and I’m not saying they should be dismissed. What also shouldn’t be dismissed is the fact that after those mistakes, Manuel helped the Bills climb back into that game and ultimately take the lead late before a horrible pass interference call on Nickell Robey-Coleman gave the Jaguars an extra set of downs leading to the winning TD late in the game.

After his second interception in the second quarter, which followed his sack fumble that was returned for a TD and his INT that was returned for a TD, EJ Manuel went 8-12 passing for 80 yards on the last two drives of the half with a touchdown pass capping one drive and the other leading to a field goal.

In fact for the rest of the game after those three straight turnover drives in the second quarter, Manuel for the rest of the game went 20-30 passing for 248 yards and two touchdowns. He led the team on drives that helped the Bills score 21 of 28 unanswered points with Corey Graham providing the go ahead TD on an interception return.

As the saying goes adversity often reveals a person’s true character. After that disastrous four or five minutes of the game, Manuel came back and got his team back in the game. I still remember Greg Roman in the locker room after the game telling Manuel that he showed him something in the way he played after those turnovers.

It was a hugely disappointing win, but Buffalo’s offensive coordinator respected Manuel’s resolve and ability to bounce back.

I’m not trying to be an apologist for Manuel, but the guy works his rear end off and I believe is a much better backup than most of what the rest of the league has in their No. 2 spot.

Take a look around the league at some of the names and you’d be hard pressed to find even a few teams with better options.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gilmore unaffected by rematch with OBJ

Posted by Chris Brown on August 19, 2016 – 10:25 am

Last season Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. had his share of run-ins with defensive backs. Most notably Josh Norman as the two came to blows. There were also issues between Beckham Jr. and the Bills last season. After an interception in the game by Stephon Gilmore last season Beckham could be seen throwing a punch at Duke Williams during Gilmore’s return. He also was accused by Preston Brown of striking him when Brown was trying to defend one of his teammates. So will emotions come bubbling to the surface Saturday afternoon?

Gilmore doesn’t believe there’s a score to settle, especially in a preseason game, but he does promise to play at his best.

“I mean anytime I step in between the lines, I’m going to play hard no matter what,” Gilmore said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s preseason, regular season I’m going to play as hard as I can. I’m just going out and like anybody else not try to let him catch the ball, you know. That’s my goal to try to play physical as I can.”

 

Gilmore, who though intensely competitive, is a pretty cool, collected player. He got in an Instagram image battle with Beckham Jr. last spring from their matchup in 2015 when Gilmore and Darby held Beckham Jr. to five catches for just 38 yards and no touchdowns.

Beckham Jr., who sat out the Giants preseason opener, is expected to play Saturday at New Era Field against Buffalo.

 


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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 8-12

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2016 – 11:05 am

We’re on the cusp of preseason game number one for the Bills as they host the Colts Saturday night at 7 pm at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Here is the latest edition of your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Is Aaron Williams’ injury potentially serious? If so, how long would he miss?

@kevinwh1te3

CB: We do not yet know the severity of Williams’ injury sustained at practice Thursday night. He was being evaluated for a possible concussion. We hope to learn more soon, but I think this all but guarantees he will not see any action at safety Saturday night.


2 –
@ChrisBrownBills

How has Aaron Williams looked in camp so far?

@JaredBailey23

CB: Williams has admitted that he is taking the path back to full contact slowly coming off his neck surgery. Unfortunately Thursday night’s collision happened without him having any choice as to how involved he wanted to be.

He’s trying to be that leader in the secondary while also balancing the aggressiveness of his play on the field. It cannot be an easy task for him. So hopefully he comes out of the collision with Dez Lewis without suffering a major setback in his road back to full contact play.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you get tired of fans and media having a short rope with GMs and coaches?

@FitzCT

CB: I have been covering this team for the entire playoff drought and then some. I recognize and understand the frustration of Bills fans. They just want a winner, and they’re at the point where patience has run out and if they don’t think a GM or coach is capable of getting the team to the postseason they don’t want to wait around another year to see if the fortunes will change.

But in the NFL time and again it has been proven that continuity pays off more often than not. And constant change does not. Fortunately the Pegulas despite being young in the NFL ownership business understand this. So I anticipate them staying the course beyond this year.

Does that mean they’ll be satisfied if the team doesn’t reach the postseason in 2016? Absolutely not. They want to win, badly. And for that matter so does Doug Whaley and Rex Ryan.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

How confident are you in the safety depth behind A. Williams and C. Graham?

@Seeairuhyo

CB: While I am encouraged by what I’ve seen from Robert Blanton in the practice setting and improved play from Jonathan Meeks, whose career has been interrupted by injuries, I need to see more in the preseason before I can feel comfortable with what the Bills have behind the two incumbent starters at safety.

Things look good on the practice field, but I want to see it translate to the game field for some hard evidence that the Bills are going to be okay there beyond their starters.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Hey Chris, if the Bills are in fact able to extend Taylor, would you expect Gilmore to get tagged if no deal is done? #Bills

@Josh_McCarty28

CB: Under your hypothetical situation the Bills could make use of the tag if necessary. Really the franchise tag would only buy the Bills some time in keeping Gilmore on the roster. Common ground ultimately has to be reached if Gilmore is to stay here long term.

I think Buffalo will have to be very creative to make a long term deal palatable to Gilmore in light of where the cornerback market has gone this offseason. Hopefully the Darius Slay deal with Detroit helps stabilize the going rate a bit more.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Gilmore says he’ll report to camp

Posted by Chris Brown on July 25, 2016 – 11:40 am

Stephon Gilmore may have hinted at possibly not being on hand at the start of Bills training camp, but at the end of minicamp, where he did not participate, Gilmore when asked if he’d sit out at training camp if he didn’t have a new deal indicated he wouldn’t.

“Probably not. I’m a competitor,” said Gilmore last month. “I’m going to go in and work like I do. Whatever happens, happens. I’m going to put it on film, put up what I do on film and it’ll speak for itself.”

On Monday Gilmore has apparently echoed those sentiments with ESPN’s Josina Anderson.

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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

Gilmore back in the building

Posted by Chris Brown on June 13, 2016 – 12:46 pm

Bills CB Stephon Gilmore is back at One Bills Drive. Choosing to skip the voluntary OTA practice sessions this spring, Gilmore is expected to be on hand for this week’s mandatory minicamp. What his level of participation will be remains to be seen, but Gilmore did offer a shout out to Bills fans courtesy of the Bills twitter account.

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Gilmore is entering the final year of his rookie contract after the team picked up his fifth-year option in May of 2015. The Bills and Gilmore camp are trying to negotiate a long term contract extension.

Bills minicamp runs Tuesday through Thursday this week.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Market provides range for Gilmore contract

Posted by Chris Brown on June 10, 2016 – 2:34 pm

More than enough new deals have been struck at the cornerback position this offseason to establish concrete parameters for a long term contract extension for Bills CB Stephon Gilmore. Of course as everyone knows it takes two to tango.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show this week, CBS Sports salary cap analyst Joel Corry explained why the parameters for a Gilmore deal are already in place from the contracts that have already been consummated for other NFL cornerbacks. Chief among them the deal that Washington put up to land Josh Norman.

“Anytime you get a guy setting a bar at a position it has a trickle down effect,” said Corry. “So it’s going to raise these salaries for those who won’t quite reach that level. So it benefits Gilmore.

“I think where the deal will end up is somewhere between the $14M range where you have Patrick Peterson and Richard Sherman and then you have Joe Haden at $13.5M and the Janoris Jenkins at $12.5M, basically $29M guaranteed,” said Corry. “The deal should be in between those two parameters.”

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Signing Gilmore & Taylor to extensions feasible

Posted by Chris Brown on June 10, 2016 – 1:34 pm

The Bills have methodically taken care of some of the more important expiring contracts on their roster this offseason. Richie Incognito and Cordy Glenn are the two primary examples. Next up is considered to be Stephon Gilmore and Tyrod Taylor. Some outside observers wonder if Buffalo has enough cap room to lock up both long term. One expert says yes.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show, Corry explained why signing both Taylor and Gilmore to long term extensions is not going to be impacted by the cap space Buffalo has at their disposal.

“It’s easily do-able because Gilmore can create his own cap room from his fifth-year option of slightly over $11 million. In the extension you could convert a significant portion of that into signing bonus, so you would lower his cap number as well. So you would create some cap room with an extension. Since you have $12 million in cap room already you could structure a deal where you can get Taylor done as well,” said CBSSports.com’s NFL salary cap analyst Joel Corry. “Cap room won’t be an issue.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gilmore tabbed as 1st-time Pro Bowler for 2016

Posted by Chris Brown on June 2, 2016 – 1:15 pm

Bills CB Stephon Gilmore is entering a contract year though the club hopes to sign the talented cornerback to a long-term contract extension before next spring’s free agent period. If Gilmore has the season NFL.com predicts it could prove good for Gilmore and the Bills.

NFL.com put together a list of nine players they see performing so well in 2016 that it will vault them to their first career Pro Bowl nod. Gilmore made the list coming in at number six.

6. Stephon Gilmore, Buffalo Bills cornerback: Ronald Darby, Gilmore’s tag-team partner, is also a good candidate for his first Pro Bowl after finishing second in the Defensive Rookie of the Year voting. Still, it seems wrong for Darby to make it before his veteran teammate who also plays a physical style.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-27

Posted by Chris Brown on May 27, 2016 – 11:28 am

Week one of OTAs is in the books. Week 2 gets underway Tuesday. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hi Chris

Thanks for all you do to keep us Bills fans informed! My question is about extending Gilmore and Tyrod. With Gilmore being under contract under the fifth-year option on his rookie contract, if he and the Bills were able to strike a long term deal this offseason, does that work like the franchise tag where his new deal would replace his current contract, or is this year’s salary set in stone and they can only negotiate an extension for next year and beyond?

If it is an extension that doesn’t impact his present salary for this season, how would that work with his signing bonus? Would a prorated portion count against the cap this year? Same thing with Tyrod, if the team signed him to an extension so they could keep him at his low salary for this season, if the extension were signed this offseason, would there be any impact on this season’s salary cap from his signing bonus if his salary doesn’t change? Thanks!

CB: New long term deals typically replace the existing one. The club usually does this to more effectively spread out the amortized portions of the contract (e.g. signing bonus). On occasion teams will tack on an extension to the current year, but it’s uncommon.

2 – Chris

Can you give us more insight into UDFA Justin Zimmer. He was the fastest/quickest/strongest tackle in this year’s draft with something like 86 tackles, 13 sacks, 26 tfl, and 4 ff’s.  This kid should have been drafted just based on his measurables alone.  44 Reps/4.85 40 with outstanding short shuttle and 3 cone times- Are you kidding me?  Mo Boehringer got drafted on pure potential and this kid is way more experienced than him, even at Ferris St.  Can Coach Blake morph this kid into the next Aaron Donald or Geno Atkins?  With Adolphus Washington we really strengthened the interior D.

John

CB: One reason why Zimmer went undrafted is because he has short arms. While this might sound ridiculous these are parts of the player measurables that carry weight especially when it comes to line play. If you can’t keep offensive linemen from getting into your chest then you’ll have problems making plays.

Now Zimmer to his credit was ultra-productive at the FCS level. He’s quick and agile and obviously powerful and he’s a hustler. To say he could be the next Aaron Donald or Geno Atkins is a stretch. That being said he’ll be interesting to watch when the pads go on in camp.
3 – 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: First, I’m going to tell you that in this first week of OTAs the players admitted they assumed with an accomplished defensive coach coming in the door that they just expected to be just as good as they were the year before and did not put the required time in to master the defense. Just about every place Rex Ryan has been his players have never had a problem absorbing and implementing the defensive system he employs. They’ve never had a problem playing fast.

Buffalo’s players pretty much acknowledged that a lot of their shortcomings last season were on them because they didn’t buy into the system. That’s changed now, so I’d be interested to see how well they can play in this defense with the talent they have on hand.

Now will it be an adjustment for the three top draft choices? Probably, but their talent will help to carry them until they do have it all down pat. Additionally all three draft choices are workers and committed to being great. Those are all encouraging signs. As we all know the proof will be in the results on the field.

 

4 – Hey Chris ,
Do you think the Bills have any interest in trading for Sam Bradford ? Personally I think he has had a pretty raw deal since entering the league, his first three seasons the Rams had nobody really legit to play with on offense except for Danny Amendola , he tore his acl twice and the Eagles were a mess to begin with before he got there, Buffalo has a lot of good players on offense right now I would be really curious to see who would win the starting job between Taylor and Bradford, thank you.

Alexander, Toronto


CB:
I’d be surprised if the Bills pursue something like this if in fact Bradford is offered up again. The biggest question facing this team is whether or not they have a franchise quarterback. That won’t be answered if you add another QB to the mix. They should stick with Tyrod Taylor this season and see what kind of step forward he can make.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills Didn’t the Bills defense want to be the ‘85 bears last year?

Joe gnozzo @joegnozzo51

CB: I don’t think the bar was ever set that high. From a scheme perspective that wasn’t the plan either. Rex’s defense does have some 46 principles to it, but the biggest issue in terms of scheme in 2015 was Ryan’s attempt to blend some of the successful concepts of the team’s 2014 system that helped them finish fourth in the NFL with his own scheme.

The blend did not work by Ryan’s own admission by midseason and the unit never recovered when they tried to eliminate that in season.

This year they’re going to be more of a traditional 3-4 and play strictly Ryan’s defensiv


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gilmore update

Posted by Chris Brown on May 24, 2016 – 3:31 pm

The Bills are determined to get a long term deal done with Stephon Gilmore, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Buffalo picked up his fifth-year option a year ago. Negotiating a long term agreement at a premium position like cornerback however is easier said than done.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportradio 550, Whaley admitted cornerback is a top flight position, but as an organization they have to be mindful of other contracts coming up for players they’d like to extend long term.

“For a Rex Ryan defense it’s an important position for how you want to run that defense,” he said. “Again you have a value. Where the juggling process come in, you always want to set a value on a guy, and that’s your first step. But how does your first step affect your next step? So if we put a value on Stephon, but it hinders us from something else down the road that’s when you have to adjust your value on a guy. So it’s going to be a complicated process, but the main thing we’re excited about is both sides want the goal to be for him to come back and sign a contract.”

Whaley remains optimistic that a deal can be struck.

“We’re excited to have Gilmore and we’re excited to have Darby,” said Whaley. “So we have two who we think are top tier corners in the league. Hopefully it’s going to be an exciting season to see them get out there and play 16 games and perform well. And we’ll see how it goes on the business side as well.”


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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

Ball parking a Gilmore extension

Posted by Chris Brown on May 14, 2016 – 1:33 pm

The financial number crunching gurus at Spotrac have put together what they believe will get a long term contract extension done with Bills CB Stephon Gilmore, who is entering the fifth and final year of his rookie contract. 

Spotrac calculated the average annual valuation at $12.9M per year on a five-year deal, but indicated a contract that is a shade over $13M per season is more likely. 

Typically when agents want a higher average annual salary the team looks to add an additional year as Spotrac projects in the estimated extension for Gilmore (6 yrs, $80M. 

Josh Norman’s unexpected deal with Washington has not helped clubs as it inflated the market value of cornerbacks and probably wasn’t even necessary. 

I’d expect the Bills to try to get a long term deal done that fits somewhere between Cleveland’s Joe Haden ($13.5M/yr) and the Giants Janoris Jenkins, who signed for ($12.5M/yr). 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley: Planning for key extensions up next

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills GM optimistic on Glenn, Gilmore futures

Posted by Chris Brown on April 20, 2016 – 11:44 am

Bills GM Doug Whaley is immersed in draft preparations with it sitting just a week away on the calendar. But it hasn’t kept him from staying abreast of where things sit with two key players on their roster. Cordy Glenn has signed his franchise tender and Stephon Gilmore is in the last year of his rookie deal after Buffalo picked up his fifth-year option. The next step is getting the two players locked up with long term extensions.

When that will happen is anyone’s guess, but Whaley in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 feels the Glenn and Gilmore camps have a mutual understanding with the Bills.

“I look at it this way. I’m more optimistic than pessimistic,” said Whaley. “We have until July 15th with Cordy, we have until whenever with Stephon, but I’m more optimistic than pessimistic. We all start with the same viewpoint that we want to get a deal done so we’re on the same page there.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-1

Posted by Chris Brown on April 1, 2016 – 12:16 pm

Back from vacation to resume our weekly Fan Friday forum. The draft is now less than a month away. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you see the Bills improving on Defense this year? They lost a couple guys but I don’t think they could fall any further.

iamthelegenddd

CB: I think a lot will hinge on what the Bills are able to add to the roster defensively via the draft. I believe they have to come away with at least two plug and play starters on defense. Buffalo has eight picks and they’ve done a good job of late of finding instant contributors beyond the first round (Darby, Woods, Alonso, Brown, Karlos, Miller). If that continues in this year’s draft I’m optimistic they can rebound from last season’s disappointing results.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills what moves will be made next year in order to pay Tyrod and Gilmore?

9thekid

CB: Contrary to popular thinking the Bills cap situation for 2017 is quite healthy. Last I checked Buffalo was projected to be about $50M under the cap next offseason, which should afford them more than enough space to handle sizable long term extensions for both Gilmore and Taylor.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills qb to develop behind taylor, who in the draft would it be? cardale, hogan, hack or cook? #billsfans

Srothenburgh

CB: I think among the quarterbacks you mentioned the only one that gives me pause is Kevin Hogan. While GM Doug Whaley is right about Hogan’s pro readiness having worked in a pro-style system and his vast game experience at Stanford, I just can’t see his throwing arm allowing Buffalo to do all the things they do with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback.

I watched Hogan throw at the NFL Combine with my own eyes and while I respect his game, I can’t get past his lack of arm strength. He’s a strict West Coast system, horizontal passing game QB. That’s not what the Bills do. They drive the ball down the field a good deal with Sammy Watkins. That element of Buffalo’s passing game is critical to their success.

That’s why I can’t see them drafting a quarterback that isn’t capable of executing those kinds of plays. Cardale Jones certainly has the arm strength to do that. Hackenberg’s arm strength is good enough, though he probably needs some refining of his mechanics, and Cook has demonstrated enough examples in the Michigan State offense that pushed the ball downfield to convince me he could handle that as well.

So I’d say those other QBs you listed would all be on the table for Buffalo.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills in your opinion what’s more important need in draft LB’er or true NT, true 3-4 DE for Rex system?

rockydm92

CB: I think we need to take into account not only Rex’s system, but the offensive trends in the league and where the depth on Buffalo’s roster lies. Right now there is not only no depth at linebacker, but limited options for starters.

I think the most pressing need position is LB, but there is a need for an additional pass rusher and those players go early. So although LB is the bigger need, the value in drafts typically dictate that you get your pass rusher first and second level players later.

Of course if the right value at LB falls into their lap at 19 (e.g. Ragland, Lee) you can make a very good argument to take them in round one.

As for nose tackle, it’s a deep defensive tackle draft, so if there is a position where Buffalo can afford to wait it’s there as the talent goes into the fourth round this year.

 

5 – Hey Chris,

I am curious about Jaylon Smith with this most recent news he will miss at least the whole 2016 season and maybe more, he was easily my favourite player entering the draft before all of this happened, how far in the draft do you think he could fall and do you think the Bills would have any interest should they have a chance at selecting him? Also should a receiver like Laquon Treadwell still be available at the Bills selection do you think they would go that direction over an offensive tackle or a defensive player ? Thank you.

Alexander, Toronto

CB: I think a lot will depend upon the medical re-check that takes place on April 14-15th in Indianapolis where doctors will perform a full examination on his surgically repaired knee again after taking an initial look in late February.

Doctors will be assessing his progress over those six weeks between exams and put together a prognosis for his future playing career. Teams will have their own physicians formulate their best opinion on what kind of career Smith can expect to have and develop an appropriate draft grade off of that.

The first installment of our On the Clock series focused on the medical component of the pre-draft process last month and highlighted Jaylon Smith’s situation and how it was not all that different from Willis McGahee.

Whether he’ll be a first round pick will hinge on how team doctors believe Smith can recover. He told NFL Network’s Mike Mayock at the Notre Dame pro day this week that he’s leg pressing 600 pounds and squatting 400 pounds. But it will all come down to the medical.

I hate to tell you this, but I don’t think Laquon Treadwell will be a day one pick. So I don’t see the Bills or anyone else taking him in the first 31 selections.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-11

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

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

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

mok186946

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

KevinMassare

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

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

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

nywvfl

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

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

 

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

BmoreBillsfan

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

 

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

rosenbarker

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

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


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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