Free Agent Files: Tully Banta-Cain

Posted on February 25, 2010 by Patrick Moran

(We’re running a series profiling players that could fit into the Buffalo Bills’ plans leading up to the start of free agency on March 5.  Today we look at New England linebacker Tully Banta-Cain)

There are two keys to any 3-4 defense being successful.  One is having a run stuffing nose tackle.  The Bills are in trouble in that department (more on that at another time).  The other is dangerous pass rushers— an area the Bills need to address as well.  Who knows what Aaron Maybin will do in his sophomore year after a woefully quiet rookie season, and who knows if Aaron Schobel is going to play at all going forward.

Pass rushing defensive ends? Marcus Stroud and Spencer Johnson won’t be doing many sack dances.

So the Bills needs pass rushers—badly.

One of them could be a guy who owned the Bills last year.  Tully Banta-Cain is a New England free agent outside linebacker and the Patriots are going to let him test the waters in the open market.  Considering how badly the Bills need to bodies to get after quarterbacks, Buddy Nix should be on the phone with him approximately 30 seconds after free agency commences.

This is a horrifically weak pass rushing free agent class, but Banta-Cain is arguably the best of them, at least as of right now.

To say Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick had nightmares about Banta-Cain last year would be putting it mildly. The seventh year pro out of California had 9.5 sacks last season and more than half came in two games against the Bills.  He put down Edwards twice on opening night and dumped Fitzpatrick three times.

In fact he saved his best for games inside his own division.  Seven and a half of his 9.5 sacks and a forced fumble came against AFC East foes.

Landing him won’t be easy.  Similar to wide receiver Kevin Walter we profiled recently, Banta-Cain will get paid—probably overpaid in a weak open market.  Buffalo wouldn’t get off cheap with his acquisition but at the same token if Schobel retires they can use some of his team-saved dollars.

His addition would likely have the team set at linebacker along with Maybin, Kawika Mitchell and Paul Posluszny.  They’d still need depth, plenty of it at the position but can find that later in the draft and via some bargain basement free agent pickups.

Onto the next spot.

Previous Files: Jimmy Kennedy, Nick Eason, Kevin Walter, Chad Pennington, Chad Clifton, Tony Pashos

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1 Comment on Free Agent Files: Tully Banta-Cain

  1. Matt

    This guy had 4.5 sacks in 14 games (excluding his 5 sacks in 2 games against the Bills who played with Tackles who don’t even belong in the UFL) and you believe this is one of the first guys Old Buddy should call in free agency? No thanks. He might be a piece, but not someone that can be counted on to dominate. Just ask San Fran who cut him before last season……Besides, Old Buddy will not be up at midnight making any calls to free agents as it will be well past his bedtime!

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