Fitzpatrick Signed: The Bills made their first hit in the free agent market late tonight by signing Ryan Fitzpatrick. He was the first player to visit today and came in along with Laveranues Coles who left without a deal. Fitzpatrick is a four year veteran who saw his most extensive playing time last year when he started 12 games for the Bengals after a season ending injury to Carson Palmer. He completed 59% of his passes last year and threw for over 1,900 yards with eight touchdowns to go along with nine interceptions. His passer rating was 70. He fills the need for a backup QB with J.P. Losman leaving in free agency. He called the Bills organization impressive from top to bottom. He told the team's website that he's looking forward to developing a relationship with Trent Edwards and he will be his eyes while the young QB is on the field. Fitzpatrick is a guy who is a good student of the game. Depth Chart.
Greer Visiting Detroit: Reports say that Jabari Greer has scheduled his first free agent visit and will go to Detroit sometime over the weekend. He will likely be looking for a deal in the $8 Million a year range. The Bills last offer was reportedly about half that.
Visits Happening: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was the first of the four players we reported earlier to arrive at One Bills Drive. He was in town early afternoon. As of this writing at around 3:45pm Laveranues Coles was in town looking at the facilities. Also expected today are two offensive linemen that we reported earlier, C/G Geoff Hangartner of the Panthers and Steelers G Kendall Simmons.
Mace Not Tendered: Chris Brown is reporting on the Bills official website that Corey Mace is now an unrestricted free agent after not being tendered an offer. He was not on our originial list of restricted free agents so he slipped through the cracks.
Report: Peters Contract Offer: The release of Derrick Dockery cleared up some money along the offensive line and it appears that money may go to Jason Peters. WGR is reporting that the Bills have contacted his agent and made a contract offer to their all-pro left tackle.
Taylor To Pats: NFL.com's Adam Schefter is reporting that Fred Taylor has chosen to sign with the New England Patriots instead of the Bills. Taylor visited with the Bills on Tuesday and followed up with a trip to New England. Taylor had familiarity with Dick Jauron but wants to win a ring and New England gives him the best chance at doing that.
Coles Among Others Visiting Today: Russ Brandon has been making the rounds of Buffalo radio stations and he confirmed that WR Laveranues Coles will be in for a visit. Others expected to visit today is the previously reported Geoff Hangartner, Steelers G Kendall Simmons, and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. Stay tuned for more on the free agency front.
Hangartner Expected To Visit Today: Adam Schefter of NFL.com reports free agent OL Geoff Hangartner is expected to visit with the Bills today. The Carolina Panther can play guard or center and can be considered a player to add depth to the line but wasn't going to start if he stayed in Carolina.
Free Agency Needs: The Bills have many needs as free agency gets underway and opened up more with their moves yesterday. They also opened up more cap space to address those needs. The big needs are now on the interior offensive line where they only have one returning player in Brad Butler. They also have needs at tight end, backup QB, linebacker, and defensive end. Some of these needs will have to wait until the draft but some can be addressed immediately. Go to our newly updated depth chart to see where the major needs are.
Thursday February 26, 2009
Two More Free Agent Visits: Free agency doesn't start until midnight but the Bills got an early start on visits by players that have already been released by their teams. After hosting two players on Tuesday, two more came to town today. Veteran CB Drayton Florence and LB Jamie Winborn were in town to meet with the team. Florence was a starter in San Diego before signing with Jacksonville last year but he didn't fit the Jaguars system. Winborn made 14 starts last year for Denver at strongside linebacker.
Bills Take Care Of Tenders: The Bills essentially locked up all their exclusive rights free agents by tendering offers to all eight players on that list including announcing the tender of Fred Jackson that was reported yesterday. They also took steps to keep all their restricted rights free agents. They re-signed Gibran Hamdan and Dustin Fox a week after wrapping up Justin Jenkins and John DiGiorgio. That left only Keith Ellison and George Wilson. Those two were tendered which does keep them on the market but the Bills can match any offer they get or receive a 6th round pick as compensation for Ellison but no compensation for Wilson.
Chambers Re-signing? ESPN.com is reporting that the Bills are on the verge of re-signing unrestricted free agent Kirk Chambers. He becomes more important with the release of Derrick Dockery since he can play both tackle and guard positions.
McIntyre Returns: The Bills have reportedly kept one of their unrestricted free agents off the market. ESPN.com reports that they have re-signed Corey McIntyre to a two year deal. The move goes against what Turk Schonert said last week that the team may move away from the fullback position and use a tight end back there instead. With the upcoming release of Robert Royal the team may have decided to use a fullback instead of two tight ends.
Royal To Be Released: The agent for Robert Royal confirms to AP that his client will be released today by the Bills. Derrick Dockery's agent also confirmed that his client will be released today. The moves should open up cap space for the team as it appears the Bills may be planning to be active in free agency that begins at midnight.
Cap Hit For Dockery Release: Derrick Dockery is expected to officially hit the waiver wire at 4pm today. The Buffalo News reports he will cost the Bills $5.4 Million on thesalary cap hit with his release. That is still less than the $5.85 Million he would have cost if he stayed on the roster. So they save $450,000 in cap room and don't have to pay the reported $1.75 Million roster bonus. Other cuts may still come today including Robert Royal possibly, so stay tuned.
Report: Bills Cut Dockery: ESPN.com is reporting that the Bills have released Derrick Dockery. This would be a shock as he was signed two years ago for a whopping $7 Million a year. It has been widely thought that the he was grossly overpaid and was not worth that kind of salary at the guard position. It is an interesting move as the Bills get set to enter free agency at midnight. What do you think of this move? Take our poll on our homepage and let us know.
Wednesday February 25, 2009
Bills Tender Jackson: The Bills gave Fred Jackson his tender offer on Tuesday according to the Buffalo News. The offer is for $460,000 and locks the exclusive rights free agent to the Bills in 2009. Before signing the tender Jackson will likely continue to pursue a long term deal with the team to give him more money up front and lock him up before he hits the restricted market next year. The Bills have through tomorrow to tender their exclusive and restricted free agents.
Tuesday February 24, 2009
Taylor Thinks He Can Help: Fred Taylor spoke to the media after his visit today and said his job would be to help out here not to stir up problems with the depth chart. He says sharing a role in the backfield is something he has done before and could do in Buffalo. Taylor is a high character player who the Bills probably hope would rub off on the questionable character of Marshawn Lynch. Taylor likes the talent of the Buffalo backfield but feels it is a good opportunity for him to come in and help them get even better.
Washington Also Visits: It was a busy Tuesday at One Bills Drive besides the visit of Fred Taylor, WR Kelley Washington also was in town. He was a special teams standout for the Patriots the past two years but caught only one pass. He said Buffalo is one of the team's he's interested in coming to and this is all part of the free agent process. He says he knows the atmosphere in Buffalo and that is something he would like to be part of.
Taylor In Town: The Bills have confirmed our earlier report, that Fred Taylor is in town today to visit with the Bills staff. This is the first free agent visit and he was able to visit before free agency starts because he was released by the Jaguars.
Taylor To Visit: Reports continue to surface that Fred Taylor will visit with the Bills as early as today. He is also reported to be going to New England after his visit in Buffalo. This is clearly a message sent to Marshawn Lynch. It is unlikely that Taylor would come to Buffalo to be a third wheel so if he did come to town it would likely mean the team would try to rid itself of Lynch. That does seem unlikely however since they wouldn't be able to get market value for him because of the off the field issues.
Crowell To Washington? A report out of Washington suggests the Redskins may go after Angelo Crowell to fill their outside linebacker needs. The report also cites NFL sources who say Crowell will definitely not be returning to Buffalo. Crowell and Russ Brandon both said the door is still open on him returning but the Bills seem to be taking a wait and see approach with him. It is unclear what kind of market he has after missing all of last season after undergoing knee surgery. He reportedly sent tapes of himself working out to all the teams to show that his knee is now fine.
Monday February 23, 2009
50th Season Celebration Starts: As we reported yesterday, the Bills held a press conference this morning to announce a sponsorship with Tops Friendly Markets on the 50th season celebration. A new logo was unveiled along with the kick starting of the fan voting for the all-time Bills team. Fans can vote on the team's website from a list of former players with interactive voting pages. The list was made by members of the Wall of Fame committee and players must have spent at least four years as a Bill or have been on the 25th anniversary team. The site as a nice video and statistics of potential all-timers. Fans can now vote for offensive players, kicker, special teamers, and punter. On March 25th voting for defensive players and head coach will begin. Voting ends on April 19th and the fan all-time team will be announced during a season ticket holder draft party on April 25th. The team will introduce the all-time members at the home opener this year.
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