As the 2012 NFL Draft draws closer, the Buffalo Bills have yet to address the left tackle position through free agency, which makes it a strong chance that the Bills go after a left tackle early in the draft.
However, one man that manned the position for the Bills for quite some time still sits as an unsigned unrestricted free agent. A former seventh round pick, Bell served as the team's opening day starter for three out of the four seasons. Many believed the Bills could upgrade the position after his first two seasons as starter, but Bell really took the next step in 2011.
That is until yet another injury crept up and ruined all his positive momentum in year number three of starting. That has been the story of Bell's career, missing 17 games over that three-year span.
While Bell has made some progress as a left tackle and is still a young player (27 years old), a solid mixture of injuries, a young backup with promise (Chris Hairston) and the potential to find a long-term starter with the tenth overall pick, the Bills very well could be moving on from their former project left tackle.
A popular question fans ask is 'Ok, everyone is re-signed, now how about Demetrius Bell?'
My simple answer to all those queries... I'm not at all that optimistic about it. Just based on things I've been hearing -- unless Bell's market dries up (which I don't think it will) -- I think the chances are greater he is wearing a different team's uniform in 2012.
With the 2012 NFL Draft just over a month away, it seems as though finding a left tackle might be an ideal way to spend the 10th overall selection for the Buffalo Bills.
One man that potentially could be the Bills' first round pick is Stanford OT Jonathan Martin. At the very least, Buffalo is showing preliminary interest in Martin's services.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, Martin has three pre-draft visits set up for the time being with the Minnesota Vikings, Cleveland Browns and, of course, the Buffalo Bills. The Vikings and Browns both pick in the top five, which is thought to be too early a selection for Martin.
Martin is a long-time blind side protector of highly touted Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
With the rather high profile moves made by the Buffalo Bills within the past seven days, a couple of high-cap number players already on the roster at the defensive end position may have some reasons to worry.
The Bills inked Mario Williams (6 years) and Mark Anderson (4 years) to very lucrative contracts, which leave Chris Kelsay and Shawne Merriman in a bit of an awkward position. Each man has a cap hit of $5.75 million for the 2012 season.
Many look at those two as players that could potentially be cap casualties at some point during training camp. When asked about it on Wednesday, here's what General Manager Buddy Nix had to say:
"It just seems they got competition, really. And that’s what we’re trying to do at every position. Chan’s philosophy and ours is to put as many good players as we can at each position and let the best ones start and play."
Logic would indicate that both Kelsay and Merriman will go to training camp, since the cost of bringing them there would be low. In fact, having both of those players on the roster might get the Bills as close to a complete defensive line (starters and depth) than they've had in quite some time. But if the team sees someone presently on a roster that gets cut, perhaps one of those two could be the first to go from the defensive end position.
If not, I could envision a scenario that has both staying on the roster. With Mario Williams as a three-down player, Mark Anderson as a two-down player, Chris Kelsay helping stuff the run and Shawne Merriman being brought in on obvious passing situations. It seems like a group of four men with different types of games that can complement one another.
Also, it's widely thought of that Dwan Edwards, although a solid player in the 3-4 last season, does not fit what the Bills are trying to do. He'll likely be brought to camp as well, but the numbers crunch may just make him a cap casualty at some point in time.
All in all, this has been the first time in a few years where the Bills are in a spot where they may have too much depth at certain positions. My how things change in just a couple of years.
From the way the off-season has gone so far, it's safe to say that fans of the Buffalo Bills are excited for the 2012 season to get here. The first step in that long, arduous process will be the team taking part in organized team activities (OTAs) and mini-camps.
The Bills released the workout schedule for their team on Thursday:
· Friday, May 11 – Sunday, May 13 – Rookie & First-year players Mini-camp
· Tuesday, May 29 - Organized Team Activities
· Thursday, May 31 and Friday, June 1 - Organized Team Activities
· Tuesday, June 5 - Organized Team Activities
· Thursday, June 7 and Friday, June 8 - Organized Team Activities
· Monday, June 11 and Tuesday, June 12 - Organized Team Activities
· Thursday June 14 and Friday, June 15 - Organized Team Activities
· Tuesday, June 19 – Thursday, June 21 - Mini-camp (Mandatory for all players)
The Bills also announced their voluntary off-season conditioning program will begin on April 23.
Buffalo Bills General Manager Buddy Nix joked with reporters following the Mario Williams signing that the contract may dry up their interest in the free agent market. As it turns out, he really was just kidding around.
The Bills announced on Wednesday morning that free agent defensive end Mark Anderson had arrived to team facilities for his official visit. The team tweeted a picture on Tuesday night of Anderson meeting defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt and defensive line coach William Inge for dinner.
Anderson, most recently of the New England Patriots, had 10 sacks for the AFC Champions in limited time on the field. He was a consistent force for New England all season long, and proved to be a menace in the playoffs as well. He had 2.5 sacks in three post-season games.
The unrestricted free agent has already been on two visits since the market opened up, visiting with the Miami Dolphins and most recently the Baltimore Ravens.
He's spent time with both the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans as well. His rookie season, Anderson had a whopping 12 sacks in 2006, but accounted for only 13.5 sacks over the course of the next four years.
With Mario Williams filling the left defensive end position, Anderson could slot in on the right side.
Stay tuned to WGR Sports Radio 550 and WGR550.com for the latest on Anderson's visit with the Bills.
What a couple of weeks it's been for the Buffalo Bills and their fans across the United States. They re-signed four players in five days, they roped in the biggest free agent acquisition in their franchise's history and now the draft is a little over a month away.
Join me Tuesday at 7 pm to talk Bills, the NFL Draft, and everything in between right here on WGR550.com. Bookmark this page, the LIVE chat will be happening right here!
A late season addition to the roster will at least have another chance to make the Buffalo Bills in 2012. The Bills announced Monday morning that they've re-signed wide receiver Derek Hagan.
Saddled with countless injuries to their wide receiver group, the Bills added Hagan in late November looking for depth. Through the rest of the season, they got solid production from the veteran player.
Hagan had 13 catches through four games with the Bills, including a seven-catch performance against New England in Week 17 that also yielded 89 yards.
Hagan, 27, is a six-year veteran of the league. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
With the craze of the Mario Williams watch last week, one man's contract details was left in the shuffle.
The Bills re-signed unrestricted free agent Kirk Morrison to a two-year contract, with it being worth a total of $2.5 million according to a league source. Morrison received a $500,000 signing bonus on that contract.
Morrison will likely be the opening day starter at strongside linebacker in the Bills 4-3 defensive scheme.
In a move to secure two offensive linemen on the team before the start of free agency, the Buffalo Bills have announced that they have tendered offers to the pair.
Starting right guard Kraig Urbik and reserve lineman Chad Rinehart both received tendered offers from the Bills, the team announced Monday. Both were listed as restricted free agents, having their contracts run up while having less than four years of vested experience in the NFL.
The move puts a specific stipulation to a team looking to ink one of these players on the free agent market. A team that signs one of them to a contract, and if the Bills don't match the offer, would have to send a draft pick to the Bills as compensation. The round of the draft pick is determined by the tender offered to each individual player. The tenders for both Urbik and Rinehart are unknown to this point in time.
The Bills and the rest of the NFL kick off the free agency period Tuesday at 4 pm.
The busy, busy week of the Buffalo Bills continued on Friday.
The team announced that they've come to terms on a contract extension with linebacker Kirk Morrison, the fourth player they've re-signed in the past five days.
Morrison joined the team in training camp of 2011 after signing a one-year deal. He played in 14 games with the Bills, registering a total of seven tackles for the team. Before Buffalo, Morrison was a starting linebacker for six straight seasons when he had stints with Oakland and Jacksonville.
Morrison will likely be a candidate to start at strongside linebacker, a position that has yet to be filled.
Aaron Wilson of Scout.com reports that it's a two-year deal for Morrison. Financial details have yet to be disclosed.
They re-signed their widely beloved wide receiver Stevie Johnson, they brought tight end Scott Chandler back on a reported two-year deal and maybe better yet, the front office is inspiring the players that they believe in them.
An hour or so after Chandler's re-signing had been made public, Johnson reached out to a potential free agent wide receiver that could further help the offense.
Jackson, a soon-to-be unrestricted free agent coming from the San Diego Chargers, is widely considered the top wide receiver on the free agent market.
I retweeted Johnson with the tag "A plea, perhaps? #Bills" and got the following response from the Bills' highest-paid wideout:
"@JoeB_WGR I feel like we are on the verge! Our team has been strong together going thru things. The office is BACKING us! #promising ya know"
A lot was made about the message re-signing the top guys on your team sends. Basing it off that tweet, I think the guys that make up the Bills' roster are pretty feeling good about their front office right now. That goes miles and miles in the NFL. The power of spoken word between player to player is immense.
The free agency period starts Tuesday, March 13 at 4 pm. Be sure to spend the whole day with WGR Sports Radio 550, as we'll be broadcasting live from One Bills Drive before the big day kicks off!
It looks like the Buffalo Bills are bringing the band back together on the offensive side of the ball at least.
Days after re-signing Stevie Johnson, tight end Scott Chandler has re-signed with the Buffalo Bills according to the team. It's a two-year contract, his agent announced on Twitter. The annual amount of the deal is unknown to this point.
Chandler first broke the news on Twitter:
"@scottchandler84: Reunited and it feels so good!!! Blessed to be back with the Bills! Nowhere else I want to be! Thankyou Lord for this opportunity!"
"@scottchandler84: Thankyou to the Bills front office and fans for all your support!! Let's get this thing rolling! #BillsMafia"
Chandler was a mainstay for the Bills offense early in the year, grabbing six touchdown passes through the first seven games to tie the franchise record in touchdowns by a tight end in one season.
He had a total of 38 catches for 389 yards in 2011.
Chandler spoke with WGR about an hour after tweeting he had re-signed. You can hear that audio below!
(Scott also gave me crap for the 23-to-1 odds I gave the Bills re-signing him. Yep, blew that one. I'll keep to the reporting gig.)
Stay tuned for the latest Bills news right here with WGR Sports Radio 550 and WGR550.com
Fresh after re-signing a free agent-to-be wide receiver on Monday, the Buffalo Bills have done the same on Wednesday.
The team announcing Wednesday that they've come to terms on a contract extension with wide receiver Ruvell Martin. Martin had seven catches for 82 yards in 2011, but was seen more as a special teams contributor than a wide receiver.
With the injuries piling up at the position late in the year, the team had him be a bit more involved on offense.
A league source says Martin's deal is a one-year pact that will pay him $700,000 as a minimum salary benefit contract. That means the deal will only count as $540,000 against the cap.
With the news of the day that Stevie Johnson has signed a new five-year contract to remain with the Buffalo Bills, both he and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick fielded plenty of questions about the what this deal means to the team.
You can listen to a brief one-on-one conversation with Stevie Johnson below, where he talks about what's next for him and answering the question "Will the money change the man?"
You can also listen to Ryan Fitzpatrick's conference call with the media shortly after Stevie's press conference ended.
With the craziness ensuing over Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, the St. Louis Rams are sitting pretty waiting for the top offer to deal off the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Some fans of the Buffalo Bills have even wanted their team to do the same. During Bills GM Buddy Nix's appearance on the Howard Simon Show on WGR Thursday morning, the message on that topic was simple:
Don't get your hopes up.
"No, I've visited with those guys but not about [trading up for the second pick]. We talked to everybody, and we've kicked the tires on everybody, but if we we're probably gonna move either way it'd be down, not up."
Since the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine ended, fans of the Buffalo Bills have been ravenous for an update on the contract talks between soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Stevie Johnson and the organization.
While not relinquishing much information, GM Buddy Nix told The Howard Simon Show on Thursday that the line of communication is still open.
"There's always optimism as long as there's communication going on, and we did have that at the Combine, we've had it since, and we're working. As long as we're talking and both sides are working, we've got a chance. As far as updates or any news, the news you get will be when we do it, or when we don't at the end of the March 13."
Nix also reaffirmed what he told WGR at the NFL Combine, that the franchise tag is still an option for the team in regards to Johnson.
Stay with WGR Sports Radio 550 for the latest on the Buffalo Bills, the NFL Draft and the impending free agency period.