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Photo: USA Today Sports


By Sal Capaccio

Twitter: @SalSports


The Bills have 23 unrestricted free agents set to hit the open market next month. This week, I’ll be summarizing and stating what I think the team’s approach should be with each one.  

Today, a look at the offensive and defensive linemen:

DL Corbin Bryant

Bryant’s been a very valuable player over his five seasons in Buffalo.  He’s been the next-man-up when Marcell Dareus or Kyle Williams can’t go.  And there have been plenty of times that’s been the case, especially over the past two years.  Bryant’s started 16 games in that time.  Williams is still contemplating his own future and will be 34 next season if he does return.  Dareus can’t be relied upon to stay on the field for a full season.   So, Bryant, a smart player who can learn any scheme, becomes even more important to a team like the Bills.  The 29-year old is purely a run-stopper and doesn’t offer anything as far as a pass rush, but he fits best as a 4-3 defensive tackle, and given that’s the base scheme Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier are most likely going to play, the Bills should want him back.

Verdict: Bryant made roughly $1.7 million last season after being kept as a Restricted Free Agent.  A 2-3 year deal starting at $2 million/year and bumping up slightly each year could work for both sides.

DL Leger Douzable

One of the more consistent players on the Bills defense last year as the season went on, Douzable played in all 16 games, starting five of them.  Among all defensive linemen on the Bills, Douzable was second in total tackles behind only Kyle Williams.  He’ll be 31 next season, but doesn’t have nearly the wear and tear of other defensive linemen his age.  He’s also one of the more versatile players up front, able to fit as both a 4-3 DT or 3-4 DE and is a rare DL who can contribute on several special teams.  He played for the veteran minimum last season and could very well be available for the same deal this offseason.  The Bills should want to, and be able to do that.  I’d even be ok with giving him slightly more than that, but then the team would not get the veteran minimum salary cap benefit, and they don’t have a lot of flexibility on the cap right now.

Verdict: Keep Douzable for the veteran minimum so they are able to get the salary cap benefit that goes with it.

OT Jordan Mills

Mills started all 16 games last year at right tackle, but was very inconsistent.  The situations with both Seantrel Henderson and now Cryus Kouandjio have put there Bills in a tougher spot when deciding on him.  In November, Henderson was suspended ten games for a second violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.  He still has five games left on that suspension.  Kouandjio recently fell in his house and had hip surgery.  He’s expected to be ready for training camp, and although he played strictly on the left side last year, there’s now even more uncertainty at the tackle position and particularly the depth.  So, whether it’s Mills or someone else, they’ll almost certainly be in the market for a free agent veteran at the position.

Verdict: Like Bryant, Mills made roughly $1.7 million last season after being kept as a Restricted Free Agent.  But unlike Bryant, there’s no reason to give him a raise.  If they can keep him for less, fine.  If not, fine.  Either way, still try to upgrade at right tackle whether he’s back or not.

See more UFA reports and verdicts:

Offensive Skill Position Players

Follow me on Twitter @SalSports

02/14/2017 1:21PM
Please enter your comments below.
02/14/2017 1:57PM
So far lots of crab.
02/14/2017 3:49PM
Cut Dareus
And receive an immediate upgrade in the area of team character.
02/14/2017 4:21PM
Defensive Notice of under achieving
HMM, A GOOD ROOKIE DRAFT SEE DL Leger Douzable is REPLACEABLE after the year of Defensive break downs,plus the abundant supply of NFL ready College players makes him replaceable at any price. When team under preform you need rid yourself of that bad Kama. This will be the year of cleaning out under, adjectives of proving to rest of the defense on notice.Both defensive players look else where.
02/14/2017 11:06PM
Sal Sal Sal
Another useless article. Boring !!
02/15/2017 7:58AM
He's not a game changer and how many games have you won with him.
02/15/2017 8:27AM
Try to keep them all....
But at the Bills price. They are all good support personnel but not vital.
02/15/2017 9:00AM
I'd be OK with keeping all three
These guys are all pros. Mills is probably the worst of the bunch, but a veteran guy so he's at least worth league minimum. Corbin Bryant at times played well, hopefully he can bring that game all the time. I wish this radio station would release Bulldog. His shtick of constantly talking about music and his son's hockey games is getting old. We don't care. Go ride the coattails of someone else.
02/15/2017 10:36AM
OT ?
They need a up grade at RT,Mills was terrible the last 2 years.
02/15/2017 1:09PM
Your Prioritization ...
Makes sense. HOWEVER, I am not as concerned about the salary cap if we need to find some $$$ to come up with small salary increases, because other player CONTRACT RESTRUCTURING (downward) OUGHT TO BE DONE. Two prime examples are Dareus and McCoy -- for different reasons. Dareus, obviously, because the Bills have not been obtaining fair value from "Mr. Big Stuff" in return for the bloated salary we have bestowed upon him. It's simple "economic justice" and common sense business practice: (1) Dareus has only delivered to the Bills sporadic and inconsistent quality play (hardly what is to be expected from a cornerstone player/#1 draft choice who earns a top salary), (2) as a result of HIS OWN MISCONDUCT, he has RENDERED HIMSELF UNAVAILABLE for certain periods of time due to NFL SUSPENSIONS (drugs & driving crimes), thereby depriving the Bills of the benefit of the bargain they struck with him in contract, (3) while suspended, he has been a bad "professional" by LAZILY NEGLECTING TO KEEP HIMSELF IN SHAPE, thereby CAUSING HIM to get INJURED when he is reinstated to play (e.g., groin pulls, various other muscle strains, etc.) and thereby significantly LESS EFFECTIVE (if not outright "unavailable" to be inserted into the lineup) ... again depriving the Bills of the benefit of the contract bargain struck, and (4) all of this poor attitude and selfish self-centered behavior is the antithesis of being a team "leader" (and for the salary he commands, the Bills have a right to expect Dareus would be a major team leader) -- which ACTIVELY UNDERMINES TEAM COHESION and MORALE. As for LeSean McCoy, that's a completely different story. Shady is a good player, no dispute about that ... BUT in today's pass-happy NFL, successful teams simply DON'T (and CAN'T responsibly) ALLOCATE "THAT MUCH" of their SALARY CAP space into the RB position. As good as Shady is, he's still not the "best" RB in the league (nor the youngest), and some better RBs earn substantially less than he does. Not to mention lots of younger RBs who are nonetheless decent quality in their own right and can get the job done in near equivalent fashion for a lot less $$$ (some of whom are already on the Bills roster)! Stated alternatively, in today's NFL model, Shady is substantially OVERPAID, and his disproportionate salary cap hit is a factor in holding the Bills back from targeting and signing better players to help us become more competitive. So, what to do? restructure BOTH players' contracts downward to free up some salary cap space for other signings. If they refuse, try to trade them (preferably outside of the AFC entirely, but definitely outside of the AFC East at the very least). If that doesn't work, cut at least one of them (probably McCoy first because it's harder to get franchise DLs than decent quality RBs for "today's" NFL offenses, McCoy is older and has a lot of mileage, and the RB position is statistically a much more injury prone position.
02/15/2017 1:23PM
get rid of............
02/15/2017 5:05PM
You forgot to mention Ryan Groy, Sal!They should sign him ASAP!
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Are you sold on Robin Lehner as the Sabres #1 goalie?
  Yes. His play the last 2 months has sold me.
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