It appears the meeting between the Buffalo Bills and Stevie Johnson's agent was so nice, that the two sides will be doing it twice in Indianapolis.
According to Aaron Wilson of Scout.com, a league source has told him Johnson's agent (C.J. Laboy) will be meeting with the Bills on Saturday night, their second meeting in consecutive days to attempt to re-sign the wide receiver.
Another report has surfaced, this time from FOXSports.com. They caught up with Stevie Johnson at halftime of the Kentucky-Vanderbilt men's college basketball game, and asked him how the progress of the talks were going.
"Progress was made," Johnson told FOXSports about his agent's meeting with the Bills on Friday. "Hopefully, everything comes together within a week or so."
Johnson once again echoed his sentiments about wanting to stay in Buffalo as well.
The Buffalo Bills are clearly in the market for another 4-3 defensive end to complete their defensive line. At least one player in the second round range has said the Bills are interested.
Speaking at the 2012 NFL Combine, Illinois DE Whitney Mercilus was rattling off teams that have shown interest in him when he dropped the latest nugget of information important to Bills fans:
"Some of the teams I've talked with... Bears, Chargers showed interest also. Also the Bills, they showed interest... a lot of interest. Those are just to name a few."
Mercilus has been labeled with the sometimes nasty 'one-year wonder' tag, after collecting 16 sacks, 22.5 tackles for loss and nine forced fumbles in his junior season. This coming after having two sacks total in his first two seasons with the Fighting Illini.
Mercilus checked in to Indianapolis at 6-foot-3 and 260-pounds, and is widely considered a fit for a traditional defensive end in a 4-3.
For the full five-plus minute interview with Mercilus, click play below:
One of the biggest needs for the Buffalo Bills in this off-season will be getting a pass rusher that can put some heat on the quarterback. With the opportunity to speak with Bills GM Buddy Nix, who is a scout at heart, I asked him about the class as a whole and some of the players available:
On how deep the DE group is this year, and how talented up top it is:
"I think there's obviously some that will be there in the Top 10 probably. But I think there's some in the second round on, too, that'll be good players. They may not be recognized right now that way but I think they'll be one there in the mid-rounds."
On players with particularly smaller heights or shorter arms at the DE position:
"Players come with all sizes, with all measurables. But it is a red flag. It's something that they have to overcome, and you've got to decide if they can do that."
Nix on Marshall DE Vinny Curry:
"He's a very interesting guy. He's got the length, he's got the long arms. We saw him in the Senior Bowl. The guy is a relentless rusher, he's got a lot of potential and he'll be one in the mix."
USC DE Nick Perry:
"He's another one. Again, you like tall guys with length, and these guys have got it. That doesn't necessarily mean that's all you look for. They've got to have production, and that's the main thing. But these guys are productive, I think they've got a good future, both of them."
SEC players, Alabama DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw and South Carolina DE Melvin Ingram:
"They've got their limitations some in height and length, but they're really good players. They're completely different. One's a power rusher and one's more of a finesse guy with quickness and leverage and that kind of thing. They'll be in the mix."
Can Ingram overcome the short arms with his athleticism?
"He is a good athlete and he can run. I mean he is an exceptional athlete for his size. Both of them got short arms. You're talking about three-quarters of an inch difference so, not a lot."
Before we close the book on both Gailey's conversation with me and his press conference with the media here in Indianapolis, I wanted to pass along some interesting quotes on some of the other hot topics surrounding the Bills this off-season.
On TE Scott Chandler, who is an unrestricted free agent on March 13:
"Well you'd like to because Scott was productive for us. We have familiarity with him, he has some familiarity with us. You would like that to happen, but we're in a business. The one thing I try not to do is say 'We've got to have this, or we've got to have that."
"You've gotta adjust with what the best players you are given on a year-to-year basis. I'd love to have Scott. I think he was big for us, I think he'd have the same role for us this year but if he's not there we'll adjust and do what he have to with somebody else if that's what we have to do."
Where does Leodis McKelvin fit in to the equation for the Bills?
"Well Leodis has got one more year, and he has to come have a good year. I think we all know that he has a great deal of talent. He just is -- I don't want to use the word snake-bitten -- he just hasn't made the plays when he's had the opportunity. And it seems like every time he's in there, if a ball gets tipped and goes to a guy, it's the guy he's on. There's some things he does very well, we're going to give him an opportunity to be a successful football player, and then we'll probably have to cross the bridge this time next year on the free agency thing if he has a year like we hope he has."
Does the head coach think the Bills can get an impact player with the 10th pick?
"I think so. I think in today's game you have to believe your first round and your second round have to make a pretty big impact on your football team. And the other guys you hope will have some impact. If you get any more than some impact, that's gravy. But those first two have to come in and play for you."
Does he need their new pass rusher to be able to be a stand-up OLB in a 3-4 as well for versatility's sake?
"That would not be the priority. The priority would be pass rush and set the edge in the run game. Dropping would be a once in a blue moon type deal. That wouldn’t be a lot."
Meeting with the media at the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine, Buffalo Bills head coach was asked about some of the high-profile players that suffered season-ending injuries in 2011.
Namely Fred Jackson, Eric Wood and Kyle Williams. Here was his response:
"Fred Jackson’s been completely cleared at this point. I think he’s been given a clean bill of health a week or two ago. Eric’s (Wood) still in rehab. Kyle (Williams), he’s not been given 100% clear yet but he’s getting closer and closer. He’s been around the facility a couple weeks ago and it all looked good. He’s very happy about it, I know that. He feels a lot better about it."
Jackson suffered a broken bone in his leg, Wood a torn ACL and Williams had foot surgery to solve the bone spurs problems he's been having for quite some time.
Lost in the Stevie Johnson shuffle is this little nugget from Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey when he was talking to WGR about the left tackle position.
"I think you have to sit there and evaluate for yourself -- if there's a great one sitting there, you might have to pull the trigger," Gailey said on Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine. "I don't think we're good enough yet at every position to say we're only looking for two things. There's several positions we can get better at and I wouldn't want to limit ourselves right now, and I don't think Buddy does either."
The only true left tackle under contract for the Bills is Chris Hairston. Gailey also said they've been in negotiations with soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Demetrius Bell.
Despite the major impending free agent every Buffalo Bills fan has on their minds (Stevie Johnson), there are a couple of other players the Bills are trying to take care of.
In need of a strongside linebacker, Bills Head Coach Chan Gailey says the team has been in negotiations with Kirk Morrison to potentially fill that role, but was vague beyond that about what they may do to address the position:
"Well, we've been in negotiations with Kirk Morrison -- we've talked with him," the coach remarked. "We've got a couple of other guys. It might be Moats, it might be Batten, it might be… I don't know who to be honest with you. It might be someone on the team that can do it, or we may have to draft one or sign one in free agency. We understand that we've got to find the right guy for that spot. He may be on the team already or he may not be on the team already right now. We'll just have to wait and see how that pans out. Buddy will have the right answer on that, there's no question."
When left tackle was brought up to the head coach said the team has also been talking with Demetrius Bell about a return.
"We're still negotiating with Demetrius Bell. Chris [Hairston] did make some progress." Gailey said. "He's not the finished end product yet. Can he get there? He might can. I'm not convinced he will, he might can."
Bell and Morrison both become unrestricted free agents on March 13 if nothing is reached with the Bills. Hairston enters his second year with the team.
When the Buffalo Bills shipped out running back Marshawn Lynch in 2010 for a fourth-round pick and a conditional sixth-round pick, few thought he would have the type of impact that he did in Seattle.
Because of his performance in 2011, that conditional draft pick will improve. The official website of the Buffalo Bills reports that the sixth-round pick from the Seahawks will now become a fifth-round pick. Lynch had 1,204 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns on 285 carries last season in Seattle.
Because compensatory picks have yet to be awarded to teams, the actual number of the draft pick has yet to be determined. The Bills have nine picks total in this point in time for the 2012 NFL Draft.
According to a tweet from ESPN's Josina Anderson, recently released cornerback Stanford Routt is planning on visiting with the Buffalo Bills.
Anderson wrote the following in a series of tweets:
Stanford Routt's agent William Vann McElroy told me, "Stanford already has visits planned right now with Buffalo and Tennessee."
William Vann McElroy on Routt: "as of right now Buffalo has him flying in on Sunday for a Monday visit, but I will keep you posted"
Routt was just released by the Oakland Raiders, one year in to his recently signed five-year contract with the team. He's 28 years old and has started for Oakland each of the past two seasons. Routt has 10 interceptions total in seven accrued seasons in the NFL.
Since he was released from his current contract, he is a free agent able to be signed at any time. Teams do not have to wait until March 13 to sign him.
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The Buffalo Bills have parted ways with Orchard Park-native Jon Corto.
Per NFL rules, a player placed on the waived/injured list has to be released once they pass a physical. That was the case for Corto, who got that distinction following the end of preseason. The move doesn't necessarily mean the Bills are done with him, but in this situation their hand was forced.
Corto has been cut by the team, after spending a total of three seasons on the active roster with the team. He was picked up by the Bills as an undrafted free agent in 2007, before being promoted to the 53-man roster in 2008. He spent three years as a linebacker or safety at certain points, and chipped in on special teams consistently.
A source says that Corto has drawn interest from at least a few other teams around the NFL.
Corto signed a two-year contract worth $1.294 million dollars in February of 2011, but will not see the end of that deal. He spent 2011 on the waived/injured list.
Aaron Wilson of Scout.com initially reported Corto's release.
With only one vacancy left on the Buffalo Bills coaching staff, a tweet from a former player has fans wondering if a reunion of sorts are in order.
Long-time Bills wide receiver and special teams ace, Steve Tasker, tweeted the following on Wednesday:
"Word has it that former roomy of mine may be the new TE coach of the Buffalo Bills! He's a really good hire."
So who is this mystery roommate? This is merely speculation, but there is some evidence to support that Tasker may be talking about former Bills tight end Pete Metzelaars, who was recently let go from the Indianapolis Colts coaching staff.
Tasker blogged for the Bills' official website during the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami, the game that featured the Colts against the Chicago Bears. Metzelaars was a coach with the Colts at that time, and Tasker wrote the following in an entry on February 1, 2007:
"I'd really like to see my buddy Pete Metzelaars get a ring though. We've been close friends for a long, long time. I was Pete's roommate for all of the Super Bowls so it wouldn't shock me if he didn't want me anywhere near his hotel room the night before this Super Bowl considering our luck when rooming together in the past."