Despite having a long injury history the Atlanta Falcons are apparently eager to get another weapon in the passing game for QB Matt Ryan. Philadelphia FA TE L.J. Smith is expected to sign with Atlanta. That according to the National Football Post.
Smith is capable of making plays in the passing game, but his injury history makes him a big risk. As much as Buffalo needs a playmaker at the position, Smith is not a dependable answer as I see it.
Tags: L.J. Smith, NFL free agency
Posted in Inside the Bills
Not surprisingly, free agency and the draft are dominating the questions I’m getting at AskChris@bills.nfl.net. Feel free to submit a question if you have one. Here we go.
I have read before that Bill Parcells in the late 90’s (while with the Jets) brought in Kevin Mawae to stop Ted Washington when we ran the 3-4 defense. I thought that was interesting to build your team to stop or beat particular players in your division and not necessarily always filling holes on your team. What are your thoughts on this?
CB: I think when there are players of Ted Washington’s caliber that can be disruptive up front at a certain position on a division opponent you have to make it a top priority. There’s no question the Bills are facing a similar situation knowing they’re going to see Vince Wilfork and Kris Jenkins twice a year, every year, and to a lesser extent Jason Ferguson. Center might be a higher priority for Buffalo than any other team in football in light of the teams they have to face in their division. So taking a similar approach to what Parcells did with the Jets would be wise, but is the right free agent answer out there?
As I’ve said before I’d be willing to sign Matt Birk (Minn.) to a two-year deal and groom a young replacement behind him (draft pick). That being said I’d probably re-sign Duke Preston as well. Baltimore’s Jason Brown is another option. He holds his ground a bit better than Duke, but he’s not any more athletic as I see it.
2. Dear Chris,
Hardy’s injury was rough on the receiving corps. Any chance of trading up for Crabtree?
CB: James Hardy’s injury will be something that has to be addressed, even though Steve Johnson came on strong at season’s end. I think a one or two-year deal for a veteran free agent like Amani Toomer would be the best move. It takes the pressure off Hardy to come back quickly and make an impact this year, which I think will be difficult. And it provides the receiving corps with a player that has been there and done that along with Evans and Reed. While Crabtree is enticing, I just don’t think another young wideout is the answer, particularly with a host of other positional needs.
3. Hey Chris,
Just taking a look at the draft this year. Do you think either Everette Brown or Aaron Maybin would fit in the 4-3 and do you think (or know) if the Bills would be inclined to take either of these DEs?
CB: I think Everette Brown is capable of playing in a 4-3 at the NFL level. I’m less sure about Maybin. Brown is a guy I like a lot. Most mock drafts right now don’t have him coming off the board in the top half of round one, but I like what I’ve seen.
I’ll try to do a little more homework on Brown to see if there are off the field issues or knocks on his game, but what I see on tape is pretty darn good stuff. I still need to see more of Maybin, but all indications are that he projects more to an OLB in 3-4 at the NFL level.
4. Hey Chris,
I have been reading and a lot of people think that the Bills need to draft a TE to help open up there passing game, but what about free agency? I believe the bills should pick up a DE in the draft with our first round pick, and then get our TE from free agency. What do you think about L.J Smith being a realistic option for us?
CB: I think there is a need to add a dynamic pass catching tight end and L.J. Smith has been that in his career. However, his injuries have become alarmingly frequent and I think he’s a very old 29. I think despite his talent, he’s too high risk to sign and expect him to change the face of your passing game. In free agency it’s pretty thin. The only attractive pass catching options are Tennessee’s Bo Scaife and RFA Owen Daniels (Houston). The draft might be the way to go, though I’m hesitant to add more youth.
5. Hey Chris,
For the upcoming draft I have a few scenarios that the Bills could pursue. Do you see them trading up to guarantee a guy like Orakpo from Texas? I also have them trading their first round pick for the Philadelphia Eagles 2 first round pick selections where they can draft a TE and C?
CB: I think it’s very unlikely that the Bills would move into the top 10 to secure almost any player because it costs an awful lot to move up that high in the draft even from 11, and the top 10 is where the money really gets ridiculous for rookies. I expect the Bills will have a top 3 candidate pool for their first pick and hope one is still there at 11.
Either way they’re virtually guaranteed to get an impact player at that spot. If however, none of their top three choices are there at 11, I believe it’s reasonable to think they would explore moving down as you suggested.
Tags: Aaron Maybin, Bo Scaife, Brian Orakpo, Duke Preston, Everette Brown, Fan Friday, Jason Brown, L.J. Smith, Matt Birk, Michael Crabtree, Owen Daniels, Ted Washington
Posted in Inside the Bills