Posted on March 6, 2014 by Patrick Moran
The Buffalo Bills will speak with several imminent free agents when NFL league rules allow teams to start communicating to players on Saturday, but I’ve learned of one name in particular. According to a team source the Bills have definitely expressed an interest in Kansas City Chiefs free agent guard Geoff Schwartz.
Schwartz, 27, was a seventh-round pick in 2008 and spent his first three seasons in Carolina, where he played both right tackle and guard and started all 16 games in 2010 before missing all of the following year with a hip injury. The free agent signed a one-year deal with Minnesota in 2012 but didn’t start before moving on to Kansas City last year, where he started eight games and played extremely well.
He’s regarded by some as the top available guard in this free agent class. The Chiefs are reportedly still interested in re-signing the 6-foot-6, 340-pounder, though it now looks likely Schwartz will test the free agent market.
The Bills are in the market for at least one new starting guard. Kraig Ubrik occupies one and likely to remain as such for 2014 even though he struggled for parts of 2013, carries a $3.375 cap hit this season and still has three years left on his deal.
Buffalo also has Doug Legursky on the roster, but the veteran played poorly last season after suffering a knee injury, and the team could eventually save $1 million by releasing him. The team also has J.J Unga, Antoine McClain and Mark Asper on its roster.
Free agency begins on March 11.
Posted on March 5, 2014 by Patrick Moran
The Buffalo Bills announced Wednesday morning that the team has signed Aaron Williams to a contract extension. Terms weren’t released by the team but according to Mike Garafolo the deal is for four years and $26 million.
Pro Football Talk cites a source saying Williams’ deal includes a $6.5 million signing bonus and $14.625 million guaranteed.
Williams was slated to enter the final year of his four-year, $5.2 million deal this season.
The former 2011 second-round pick was a complete disaster at cornerback his first two years in the league and seemed destined to join a long line of Buffalo Bills early round draft pick busts. However, Williams converted to safety last offseason under then-defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and the results were astounding. Sure, Williams was still occasionally prone to getting beat and drew too many boneheaded penalties, but he also picked off four passes in 2013 and had a consistent impact in Buffalo’s improved defense.
The Bills said the deal is completely independent of any other deals being worked on with other free agents, but the reality is this pretty much assures Jairus Byrd is gone. There’s no way the Bills are going to commit over $14 million in annual salary to a pair of safeties.
I don’t mind Williams getting signed. I’ve been adamant after watching Andy Levrite and presumably Byrd walk away over the past two offseasons that the Bills need to start being more proactive in extending young players before they reach their contract year. I do, however, worry that Williams isn’t established enough for my liking. Clearly the Bills are rolling the dice with this move. According to Spotrac Williams for the time being becomes the sixth-highest average paid safety in the NFL.
Posted on March 5, 2014 by Patrick Moran
After a week where nothing’s been positive, there’s finally some good news for Buffalo sports fans on Wednesday morning. The Buffalo Bills formally announced that the organization’s “Toronto Series’ has been postponed for 2014, meaning for the first time in seven years the Bills will play all eight of their home games at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park.
Rejoice, Bills fanatics.
“We will use this time to collectively evaluate opportunities to enhance future games.” Bills president Russ Brandon tweeted.
While the Bills insist that for at least the time being the series is merely on hiatus, a report by Tim Graham of the Buffalo News is far more telling. In his article Graham cites a source telling him that Brandon’s said the series in Toronto will continue “over his dead body.”
The deal had been a huge success for Buffalo, at least financially as Toronto paid Ralph Wilson $78 million for five regular season and three preseason games at the Rogers Centre. However, that money came with an unmistakable price on the field as the games, at best felt like a neutral contest for Buffalo, which is no small reason the team has went just 1-5 in Toronto with last year’s overtime loss to Atlanta perhaps the final straw. The game was attended by fewer than 40,000 fans.
Rejoice: Bills Postpone Toronto Series – continue reading…
Posted on March 4, 2014 by Patrick Moran
Last week the Baltimore Ravens released linebacker Jameel McClain at least in part because his release saved the team $3.2 million in salary cap room. Since McClain is a vested veteran the move made him free to sign with any team in advance of free agency on March 11, and it appears the Buffalo Bills could be an option.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted Tuesday evening that McClain will visit with the Bills on Wednesday.
McClain, 28, had 52 tackles in 10 games last season after missing 10 months with a career-threatening spinal injury.
Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome spoke highly of McClain in a statement following his release.
“Jameel is a Ravens’ success story who came to us as a rookie free agent. He changed positions from playing on the defensive line and outside to becoming a good inside linebacker and starter. People close to our team understand his commitment to being the best he can be and the leadership he gave on and off the field.”
McClain was signed by Baltimore as an undrafted free agent out of Syracuse University (he played there before Doug Marrone became their coach) and has started 55 games in Baltimore, racking up 332 career tackles and 4.5 sacks.
**UPDATE** WGR’s Joe Buscaliga reports that McCain wrapped up his meeting with the Bills Wednesday afternoon and is meeting with the New York Giants next.
Posted on March 4, 2014 by Patrick Moran
I don’t know the actual number, but according to a team source the Buffalo Bills last contract offer to Jairus Byrd “blew away” the five-year, $41.25 million deal 2013 free agent Dashon Goldson signed for with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last offseason.
While the Bills organization is taking a public relations beating for not placing the franchise tag on Byrd, an entirely different matter, I’m told the Bills efforts to lock up their primary free agent have been legitimate. The Associated Press reported a few days ago that Byrd turned down an offer that included $30 million over the first three years of a proposed deal. How much of that was guaranteed wasn’t made public, but a source claims it was for more than the $18 million guaranteed Goldson got from the Buccaneers.
Saying Byrd simply doesn’t want to play for the Bills going forward would be nothing but speculation on my part. From what I gather Byrd has never told people close to him that his time in Buffalo is definitely over.
What I have heard, via the same source is the salary cap increasing by $10 million in 2014 is a significant factor in Byrd rejecting any Bills offer in advance of free agency.
Eugene Parker, Byrd’s agent clearly feels the hefty cap hike will bring more suitors into play when NFL shopping season begins on March 11. Including today the Bills still have four more days to talk exclusively with Byrd, but there’s no way he’s re-signing before free agency without learning what competing offers are out there.
Again, the probability of Byrd leaving is high, but concluding so before free agency starts is not accurate. I’m told Bills general manager Doug Whaley “wasn’t lying and is being truthful” when it comes to wanting Byrd to remain in Buffalo and the team will continue to try and work out a deal.
The Bills, according to the source have not been told by Byrd that the door is closed on a return. Having said that, they’ve negotiated several times without coming to an agreement, which makes Byrd bolting for another organization come March 11 seem highly likely. Another noteworthy factor beyond money is Byrd being unhappy with the stability of the organization. Were he to remain in Buffalo he’d be playing for his fifth defensive coordinator in six years. I’m told that’s a thought that really bothers him.
Posted on March 3, 2014 by Patrick Moran
The deadline has passed with the Buffalo Bills having declined to place the franchise tag on Jairus Byrd. The Bills could’ve retained his rights for 2014 by designating him and paying $8.4 million for 2014, with an opportunity to agree to a long-term deal up through mid-July.
While technically Byrd can still negotiate with the Bills exclusively before March 11 and as a free agent after that, don’t be mistaken—Byrd has played his last down as a Buffalo Bill.
So since the start of the offseason the Bills have now lost their defensive coordinator and arguably their best player.
I largely refrain from letting emotions getting the better of me when it comes to Bills personnel decisions. I consider is my duty to bring readers information and when possible, insight. In the case, however, I got nothing positive to spin when it comes to this organization right now. Quite frankly, the fan in me is incensed.
It’s been reported the Bills made an aggressive offer to Byrd recently, which was rejected, and at that time the front office decided they wouldn’t tag Byrd, likely knowing he won’t commit to the organization long-term.
Bills Unofficially Say Bye To Byrd – continue reading…
Posted on March 2, 2014 by Patrick Moran
The Buffalo Bills have until 4pm Monday to use the franchise tag on safety Jairus Byrd. According to a report from WGR’s Joe Buscaglia, it’s unlikely to happen.
Buscaglia cites a source that says not only are the Bills unlikely to use the tag again on Byrd before Monday’s deadline, they’re also unlikely to reach any type of deal with Byrd before the three-time Pro Bowler reaches free agency on March 11.
Translation— so long, Jairus Byrd.
In theory the Bills could still sign Byrd to a long-term deal before free agency begins and technically still can even after shopping season begins, but the reality is once tomorrow passes without the Bills tagging Byrd, his Buffalo career will become a thing of the past.
It would cost the Bills $8.43 million…and plenty of headaches to tag Byrd again.
Report: Bills Unlikey To Tag Byrd – continue reading…
Posted on February 21, 2014 by Patrick Moran
Here are a few Buffalo Bills related items I’m hearing on Friday via various people. I wouldn’t call it any of it groundbreaking, but perhaps it’s worth a glance anyway.
Of course, the big-ticket Bills saga this offseason remains the Jairus Byrd contract watch. Buffalo is currently in the window of opportunity to franchise tag the pending free agent again, this time at a cost of around $8.3 million. The Bills obviously want Byrd back, and I have no inside knowledge on what they’re willing to pay to retain him long term. What I do know, or should say have heard is there’s no way Byrd is signing for a penny less than being the highest paid safety in the league. I reported on January 21 that Byrd is looking for at least $9 million per year. Now I’m hearing he may actually want more to not test the open market.
The sides haven’t formally met to try and iron out a deal, although that’s expected in the coming days. From what I gather Byrd is determined to see how much he can fetch as a free agent and as crazy as it sounds, his number could land very close to $10 million annually. The list of suitors around the league would be formidable, with Indianapolis, Miami, Green Bay and Cleveland among the possible destinations. Make no mistake about it—Byrd will be a hot commodity if he reaches the market.
Having said that, even in the worst case the Bills still have control of Byrd for another year, should they choose to go down the same path as 2013.
As far as a potential tag-and-trade goes, that’s one area where Byrd actually has leverage. Any team willing to deal for Byrd will have to agree to a long-term deal before surrendering a draft pick of any value. If Byrd doesn’t like the situation he can simply inform an interested franchise that he’ll refuse to sign beyond 2014. There isn’t a team, at least not one with sense that will trade a first or second rounder to what may amount as a rental player. Like it or not, this isn’t the NHL, folks.
Friday Bills News & Notes – continue reading…
Posted on February 20, 2014 by Patrick Moran
A rule of thumb when assessing any NFL draft is to let things simmer for three full seasons before serving up any grades. Fortunately for the Buffalo Bills, remaining loyal to that formula makes the 2011 class look plenty more appealing than if you jumped the gun.
The Bills 2011 draft appeared disastrous if you rendered a verdict one year ago, especially considering the team had two of the first 34 picks. One NFL campaign later that Buddy Nix-orchestrated train wreck is more pleasant on the eyes when reviewing the list, as the first two picks became important pieces to a defense that emerged among the league’s best in several significant categories.
The Bills finished second in the NFL with a franchise-best 57 sacks and also finishing second in the league with 23 interceptions. It was a significant ascent from the 36 sacks and 12 interception totals the Bills accumulated in 2012.
Marcell Dareus and Aaron Williams, the Bills first two picks in 2011 deserve a lot of credit for the rising.
But as a whole, how was that Bills draft class? Most would say it’s ranged from by and large pedestrian to downright inadequate, especially when you see how agonizingly close future NFL superstars came off the board just moments after several Bills selections.
Let’s take a closer look and hand out a final grade:
Grading The 2011 Bills Draft – 3 Years Later – continue reading…
Posted on February 19, 2014 by Patrick Moran
If there’s one thing about this year’s Super Bowl worth savoring, assuming you’re no Seattle Seahawks fan is that the second the clock struck zero on Denver’s debacle (and sorry Peyton, but it was “embarrassing”), the NFL season officially concluded and there’s now 32 teams back to having a .500 record.
It’s going to be an interesting offseason around the league for many teams, and that list should include the Buffalo Bills. For starters and by far most prominently, the front office must decide not if they want to retain Jairus Byrd, but what lengths they’re willing to go in order to make that happen. I reported a few weeks ago Byrd had no interest in signing a deal for anything less than making him the highest paid safety in the league. Or of course, they can franchise tag him again.
The organization also has less nerve-racking decisions to make on a few other free agents of their own, including Scott Chandler, Alex Carrington and Dan Carpenter among others.
Then come March 11 there’s free agency. While the Bills won’t be voiceless during the open shopping period, I strongly suspect they’ll be dedicated to using the majority of their cap space into keeping key players that could become free agents in 2015—a list that may include Marcell Dareus, C.J. Spiller, Aaron Williams, Jerry Hughes and Fred Jackson.
It culminates with the NFL draft, set to begin on May 8. For a team trying to halt a 14-year playoff drought, nailing the ninth overall selection (among other picks) is as essential as ever.
But more on that another time.
Before more significant parts of the offseason begins, teams around the league will spend the next several weeks cutting some dead weight from their roster and/or cap salaries that simply don’t fit. The Bills are no exception.
Ranking List Of Potential Bills Cuts – continue reading…
Posted on February 1, 2014 by Patrick Moran
After waiting nine long years, the greatest wide receiver in Buffalo Bills history will be joining football’s greatest fraternity. Andre Reed finally got the call he’s been waiting for and so richly deserved, and the former Bills great will be inducted into the 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.
Reed was announced Saturday as part of the 2014 class along with Derrick Brooks, Walter Jones, Aeneas Williams, Michael Strahan, Ray Guy and Claude Humphrey.
The Bills organization will now have their tenth member inducted come August as Reed joins O.J. Simpson, Billy Shaw, Joe DeLamielleure, Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, James Lofton, Marv Levy and Ralph Wilson.
Reed is the Bills all-time leader in receptions (941), receiving yards (13,198) and receiving touchdowns (86) in a 15-year Buffalo career that saw him earn seven Pro Bowl nods. Beyond the stats he’s regarded as one of the toughest wide receivers in league history, particularly in going over the middle of the field.
Reed had to overcome obstacles on the field throughout his career and while his wait to get in the Hall has often been agonizing, he overcame one more Saturday. He becomes the first Buffalo Bill up for induction later than his third year of eligibility.
On a personal note, I choose to make covering the Bills and Sabres on the blog an unbiased cause. While I’ve grown up in Buffalo a fan of all their sports teams I blog about now, I try to cover them objectively and not come off as a fan. However, in this case it’s impossible. Reed was one of my favorite Bills ever and when word got out that Reed would be going into the Hall, I ran around my house fist-pumping like a young child who just received the biggest gift on his Christmas list. I’m thrilled for Reed and don’t care to try and contain it. Reed’s inclusion was overdue, and this is one the happier days for Bills fans in recent memory.
August 2 is going to be a great day for Bills fans. I can’t wait.
We’ll have plenty of reaction tomorrow.
Posted on January 25, 2014 by Patrick Moran
To be perfectly honest, I was somewhat floored Friday evening to learn the Buffalo Bills hired Jim Schwartz as their defensive coordinator just one day after Mike Pettine packed and went to Cleveland.
I admittedly was hopeful the Bills could convince linebackers coach Jim O’Neil, Pettine’s disciple to step into the job. (For the record, no decision on letting O’Neil leave for Cleveland has been made as of this posting, I’m going on the assumption Buffalo does the right thing and lets him advance his career by joining Pettine).
My school of thought was much like Pettine coming to Buffalo in 2013 to break away from Rex Ryan and prove himself, O’Neil would do the same rather than follow Pettine to Cleveland, where he’ll be the defensive coordinator by title only. Make no mistake about it—the Browns defense is ultimately Pettine’s show, just as Curtis Modkins was offensive coordinator by media guide standards only when Chan Gailey was Bills head coach.
What I fully anticipated was an in-house advancement for Donnie Henderson, not a promotion that would’ve roused many. He’s coached on six NFL teams and a bunch of college squads, was a coordinator twice (mixed results at best) and the current crop of Bills defenders really seem to like him. That, and the fact Doug Marrone brought Henderson with him from Syracuse had me convinced he’d be the guy once Pettine left.
Clearly I was wrong.
Thoughts On Schwartz As Bills Defensive Coordinator – continue reading…
Posted on January 23, 2014 by Patrick Moran
The Buffalo Bills took substantial steps towards becoming an elite NFL defense during the 2013 season. If that trend is to continue moving forward, they’ll be doing so without defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.
The first coach hand-picked by Doug Marrone when he got the Bills head coaching job last January, Pettine is the new head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Pettine met with the Browns Tuesday for over four hours, his second interview before formally being offered and accepting the job Thursday after meeting with the team for a third time.
Pettine replaces Rob Chudzinski, who was unceremoniously dumped by the Browns after just one season.
Mary Kay Calbot from The Cleveland Plains Dealer first reported that the deal was done.
The team has confirmed the hire and called for a press conference at 4:45pm today.
“Mike is the epitome of what we want the Browns to be — tough, aggressive and innovative — with a blue-collar, team-first mentality.” Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said via Twitter.
Speaking with Bills.com, Marrone offered congratulations to Pettine.
“I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Mike on becoming the Browns new head coach and thank him for all of his time and efforts with our team this past season,” he said. “ He did an excellent job of improving our defense and we wish him the best.”
Before coming to Buffalo as defensive coordinator Pettine spent the previous four seasons in the same position with the New York Jets. However, that was with Rex Ryan as head coach and Ryan had enormous input with the defense. 2013 with the Bills was Pettine’s first year completely running the show and his variations of Buddy Ryan’s 46 defense was instantly effective.
Mike Pettine Leaves Bills For Browns – continue reading…
Posted on January 23, 2014 by Patrick Moran
I’m sort of rushing this post out in large part because everything could change in an instant, but I wanted to outline five quick points regarding the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns and Mike Pettine. Forgive any sloppiness.
♦ Pettine doesn’t care if he’s the first, second or ninth choice to get the Cleveland job. He wants to be a head coach, period. If he’s hired at this point the entire process will come into question and Pettine will have to address it during his introductory press conference. Surely that will annoy him, no one wants to be another’s fallback option. Having said that, the moment Pettine leaves the podium he’s their head coach and going forward, this current process becomes completely irrelevant.
♦ The Buffalo Bills are growing tired of waiting for a decision as they clearly want to have any changes necessary and the direction they’ll be going firmly in place. I can tell you with certainty that as of early this morning the front office has not heard from Pettine or Cleveland if he’s received the job.
♦ I bring up the second point for a reason. Often during a process like this and I’ll stick to using the current pieces as an example—Pettine, Cleveland and Buffalo all know what’s going to happen. They agree to keep the news sealed to give both parties time to make arrangements (setting up press conferences, reaching out to assistants, contacting potential new coaches, etc). You’d be amazed at how often things happen (player releases, signings, trades, etc) that go unreported for several hours or even a couple of days. At this moment however, Pettine and the Bills truly are in limbo.
♦ The sense that I get from contact with multiple people is the Bills feel Pettine is going to get the Cleveland job, although he clearly wasn’t their top choice. It appears that man was Denver’s Adam Gase with New England’s Josh McDaniels drawing a ton of legit interest. As stated above, that’s completely irrelevant. What matters is the Bills expect Pettine to leave and to have make plans accordingly.
♦ Lastly, Doug Marrone and Doug Whaley aren’t just spewing out hogwash when it comes to having a contingency plan in place. They absolutely do, although I personally have no idea who the new defensive coordinator would be. I’ve said all along that I expect it be Donnie Henderson, who is a “Marrone guy” and came with him from Syracuse, but honestly that’s mere speculation on my end. One of the big concerns with Buffalo is over who Pettine will use for his own coaching staff, and I’d expect linebackers coach Jim O’Neil to be among them.
One way or the other this saga should come to its conclusion today or this evening, and then we can all turn our focus into worrying about if the Bills will retain Jairus Byrd.
Posted on January 21, 2014 by Patrick Moran
According to a source familiar with what pending free agent Jairus Byrd requires from the Buffalo Bills to consider re-signing before free agency starts, his agent, Eugene Parker is seeking a deal paying his 27-year old three-time Pro Bowler client at least $45 million over five years, with no less than $20 million fully guaranteed.
Those terms would make Byrd the highest-paid safety in the NFL and from what I hear, there’s no chance of him re-signing prior to free agency for any less.
Tampa Bay signed premier 2013 free agent safety Dashon Goldson last March to a five-year deal worth $41.25 million that included $18 million guaranteed.
Parker unmistakably regards Byrd as more talented, and is looking to blow past the financials of Goldson’s agreement.
Other safeties roughly similar to Byrd’s age and talent level include Eric Weddle, Antrei Rolle and Michael Griffin. Their annual salaries presently stand at $8 million, $7.4 million and $7 million respectively. All signed five year deals.
Pittsburgh’s Troy Polamalu is actually the game’s current highest-paid safety, at an average of slightly over $9.1 million, but the 32-year old may be forced to take a pay cut from his $8.25 million salary to remain to remain with the Steelers going into the final year of his contract.
Of course, Byrd doesn’t presently control his own destiny when it comes to where he’ll play in 2014. Buffalo reserves the opportunity to place the franchise tag on him for a second consecutive year and if they did he’d earn around $8.3 million for next season.
Source: Byrd Wants At Least $9 Million Annually – continue reading…
Posted on January 20, 2014 by Patrick Moran
In his third year Marcell Dareus easily had the best season of his young NFL career. He was also the leading vote getter at his position but was snubbed when Pro Bowl rosters were announced earlier this month. None of that matters now as the league Dareus will play in the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement for San Francisco DT Justin Smith.
Many alternates end up going to Hawaii but in Dareus’ case you can make a strong argument that he belonged there all along. Dareus set career-bests with 7.5 sacks and 70 tackles, ranking as just one of five players in the NFL to register at least 7 sacks and 70 tackles.
Dareus’ addition to the Pro Bowl gives Buffalo four defenders playing in Hawaii this Sunday as he’ll join teammates Mario Williams, Kyle Williams and Jairus Byrd.
Hopefully the experience of playing in his first Pro Bowl gives the big tackle from Alabama positive momentum into the offseason. As good as Dareus was in 2013 the season didn’t end for him personally, getting benched for a quarter in their last home contest against Miami and the entire first half at New England in the season finale for an undisclosed team rules violation.
Posted on January 19, 2014 by Patrick Moran
ESPN’s Chris Mortenson reported Sunday morning that the Cleveland Browns plan to interview Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine for a second time in the coming week, making at least the possibility of Pettine landing the job much more realistic than it may have seemed a week ago.
Pettine first interviewed for the job on January 16.
By no means does a second interview for Pettine equate to his appointment as Cleveland’s next head coach a mere formality. There’s also reported interest in a second interview with Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and the Browns are widely rumored to be interested in Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase.
Translation— Bills faithful may want to become New England and San Francisco fans today. Wins by Seattle and/or Denver mean at least two more weeks before Cleveland could speak to Quinn (again) and Case about the opening.
Report: Pettine Getting Second Interview With Browns – continue reading…
Posted on January 16, 2014 by Patrick Moran
The Buffalo Bills made an addition to their coaching staff on Thursday with the announcement of Jeff Hafley joining as a Defensive Assistant.
Hafley spent the past two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and last year as the team’s safeties coach under Greg Schiano, who was fired at the end of this past season. It’s his third season overall in the NFL.
Before reaching the NFL Hafley was in the college ranks for the past 11 years, working at Worcester Polytechnic University (2001), University of Albany (2002-05), Pittsburgh (2006-10) and Rutgers University (2011).
For those going crazy and thinking Hafley’s hire means Mike Pettine is on the move, relax. His addition very unlikely has something to do with Pettine potentially getting the Browns head coaching job.
In other Bills news, Damond Talbot of NFL Draft Diamonds reports the team has signed defensive end/OLB Willie Jefferson to a futures contract. Jefferson made the Houston Texans 53-man roster last year as an undrafted free agent, but was cut along with two teammates when they were caught smoking cigars in a hotel room.
Talbot writes that “Willie played college ball at Baylor before transferring to the FCS ranks. Jefferson tore it up his senior year of college and was able to play in the Raycom All Star Game.”
Posted on January 16, 2014 by Patrick Moran
Even though the 2014 NFL draft doesn’t arrive until early May and we sit in the wintry middle of January, water cooler talk formally commenced Wednesday when Mel Kiper released the first of what’s sure to be dozens of first-round NFL mock drafts. Chatter is sure to be passionate among Buffalo Bills fans, as Kiper tabbed Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson with the Bills first selection, ninth overall.
Based on plenty of reaction on Twitter and early analysis from a few scribes, including ESPN.com’s Mike Rodrak, it doesn’t appear taking Robinson would be a popular move for Buffalo.
The rationale for cynicism are quite palpable— Buffalo has bigger needs, Cordy Glenn was terrific at left tackle in 2013, quality starters or at least depth can be found in the mid-to-late rounds, and oh—did I mention the Bills have bigger needs?
For what it’s worth, I don’t entirely concur —with the skeptics, that is.
For starters, take a look at who won’t be available and/or who the Bills aren’t going to take. Love or hate E.J. Manuel the Bills are not taking Johnny Football, Teddy Bridgewater or anyone else who throws a football for a living with the ninth pick.
Thoughts On Kiper’s Bills Mock Selection – continue reading…
Posted on January 15, 2014 by Patrick Moran
Buffalo Bills fans and especially those of the Mike Pettine heard the chatter near the end of the regular season that Buffalo’s first-year defensive coordinator could become a head coaching candidate. The coast appeared clear for Pettine’s return when six of the seven vacancies around the league were filled as of early Wednesday.
Unfortunately, that mood has changed quickly following the news first reported by Jay Glazer early this evening that Pettine will interview for the Cleveland Browns head coaching job, the last gig remaining in the league.
According to Glazer that interview will come tomorrow.
And just like that Bills fans, staff and particularly head coach Doug Marrone will stressfully await what happens. Marrone hand-picked Pettine immediately upon taking the Buffalo job last year and it turned out to be for good reason. Under Pettine the Bills set a franchise-record with 57 sacks (good for second in the NFL) and had the second-most interceptions in the league with 23. Buffalo finished ranked in the top 10 defensively for the first time in a decade and three Bills (Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Jairus Byrd) were sent to the Pro Bowl for the unit’s efforts.
Mike Pettine To Interview For Browns Head Coaching Job – continue reading…
Posted on January 15, 2014 by Patrick Moran
For Buffalo Bills fans really into paying close attention to the team’s player salaries and cap situation, there are a couple changes for 2014 in store, thanks to a few players hitting escalators on their deals.
NFL writer Brian McIntyre pointed out a few of them on Tuesday. One revolves around pass rusher Jerry Hughes, was who slated to earn just a shade over $1 million next year. Thanks to his 10-sack 2013 campaign that number rises to $3.995 million in 2014, amounting to a $2.9 million raise.
The other player McIntyre pointed out is running back C.J. Spiller. Despite not having a great season, Spiller’s base salary increases from $1.749 million last year to $3.499 for 2014.
So if you’re keeping score of these things those two escalator raises moves the Bills cap total up by around $4.6 million. While I don’t have a current Bills cap total and don’t particularly care to know at this time, I can assure you they’re still in relatively good shape and will have an opportunity to be active this offseason should they desire to, with or without re-signing/tagging Jairus Byrd.
Posted on January 14, 2014 by Patrick Moran
The first of what could be several postseason awards for Buffalo Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso have rolled in as the linebacker was named the PFWA (Pro Football Writers of America) NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Alonso led the Bills with 159 tackles, which was good enough for the third most in the NFL. He also tied for the Bills team lead with four interceptions and added two sacks.
Keenan Allen (San Diego) was named PFWA Offensive Rookie of the Year while Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy was named the overall Rookie of the Year.
While this particular honor is certainly nice for Alonso, the bigger one would be if he’s named the Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year. That announcement will come before the Super Bowl.
The best part for Bills fans regarding Alonso is that the vast majority of his impact came early in the season before hitting a bit of a rookie wall over the second half. A full offseason of NFL strength and conditioning coupled with the experience he picked up as a rookie should make for a very exciting sophomore campaign in 2014.
Posted on January 13, 2014 by Patrick Moran
Kiko Alonso had one of the better rookie campaigns in 2013 in recent Buffalo Bills history, and particularly among first-year inside linebacker. If he’s to improve as a sophomore, he’ll be doing so under the direction of a new positional coach.
The team officially announced on Monday afternoon that inside linebackers coach Chuck Driesbach has been relieved of his duties.
Driesbach joined first-year head coach Doug Marrone’s staff last January after spending the first 36 years of his coaching career at the college level, nearly the past two decades as a defensive coordinator. – Dreisbach was primarily in charge of coaching up Alonso, Arthur Moats and Nigel Bradham. Clearly, Marrone wasn’t satisfied with the direction of the unit as Drisebach becomes the second first-year coach under Marrone to be abruptly looking for a new gig in 2014.
Marrone had already announced earlier this month that Wide receivers coach Ike Hilliard was already announced by Marrone earlier this month as being relieved of his duties, citing philosophical differences as the reasoning behind the move.
It’s unknown at this time if the Bills will hired a new inside linebackers head coach or give double duty to Jim O’Neil, who currently coaches the outside backers.
Posted on January 10, 2014 by Patrick Moran
I haven’t written much about the Buffalo Bills lately, mainly because there hasn’t been much to scribe about. I soon plan on starting a series profiling a number of pending free agents who could be helpful (and realistic) additions to Buffalo should they hit the open market.
In the meantime I’ll also sit down sporadically throughout the next few weeks and pen some random thoughts and observations on all things Bills. Yeah I know—Fun, wow.
Here is what’s in my notebook this morning:
♦ I spoke to a source within the Bills organization who was not pleased that wide receiver coach Ike Hilliard was the lone coaching staff member to be fired since the season ended. By all accounts Hilliard was liked and well respected by all those he coached, in part because he was a former NFL wide receiver himself the players could relate to. According to the source, Hilliard never felt secure about his job and it wasn’t long before he started hinting to others he felt like he would be fired.
“He wasn’t one of Marrone’s guys” the source added.
It’s hard to come to any other conclusion. Hilliard is the only coach to be replaced, pretty unfair when you recall he worked a unit that was damaged goods. Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin were banged up for good parts of the year, not to mention Woods and Goodwin were rookies to begin with. T.J. Graham took little if no major steps forward from his rookie season while Chris Hogan isn’t exactly Wes Welker in the slot. The team’s lone receiver “project” Da’Rick Rogers had little interest in playing 100% full-time and was cut. It’s worth noting that before coming on late in the season in Indianapolis, Rogers was also cut from the Colts practice squad before receiving a second (third) chance and thus far making the most of it.
Friday Bills Thoughts & Notes – continue reading…
Posted on January 9, 2014 by Patrick Moran
As most expected, former Buffalo Bills wide receiving great Andre Reed has been named one of the 15 finalists for enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2014, marking his eighth straight year of making it this far in nine years of eligibility.
Reed is joined among the final 15 by Walter Jones, Derrick Brooks, Marvin Harrison, Michael Strahan, Jerome Betis, Charles Haley, Tim Brown, Morten Anderson, Eddie DeBartolo Jr, Tony Dungy, Kevin Green, John Lynch, Will Shields and Aeneas Williams
The 15 finalists will be presented and discussed at length amongst the voting panel on February 1, before the field is cut down from 15 to 10. That same day the Class of ‘14, which spans from a minimum of four to a max of seven will be announced for induction later this year live on the NFL Network.
Reed is the Bills all-time leader in receptions (941), receiving yards (13,198) and receiving touchdowns (86) in a 15-year Buffalo career that saw him earn seven Pro Bowl nods. He also played one season in Washington, although that season he caught just 10 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown.
Reed Among 15 Hall of Fame Finalists… Again – continue reading…