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Hectic Time In NFL As Lockout Ends

Bills Sign Barnett: The Bills have made their third free agent signing today as they reached a deal with Nick Barnett. He has had an injury prone past two years in Green Bay which was one of the reasons he was released. The deal reportedly is a three year deal worth $12 Million half of it is guaranteed. He fills the hole left by the free agent defection of Paul Posluszny. He will likely start for the Bills. Depth Chart.

First Practice In The Books: The Bills held their first full practice open to the public yesterday afternoon. They hit the field at St. Johns Fisher for their first night practice tonight. A ticket is required to attend tonight's practice. As expected the first practice was a bit sloppy as the team tries to get their conditioning down. Marcus Easley came off the field early to get his surgically repaired knee looked at, he is expected to be ok. Rookie 2nd round draft pick Aaron Williams had the first pick of training camp when he intercepted a Levi Brown pass.

Barnett Visits: Free agent linebacker Nick Barnett was in town for a visit yesterday. He was released on Friday by Green Bay. He played for Bills defensive coordinator Bob Sanders when he coached for the Packers. Barnett would quickly move into a starting role if he signed with Buffalo. He took a physical this morning. He was scheduled to visit with the Lions but that visit was cancelled when the Lions signed MLB Stephen Tulloch. The 30 year old is a former first round draft pick and was a cap casualty in Green Bay.

Sheppard Signs: All the Bills draft picks are now signed, sealed, and delivered. Kelvin Sheppard became the last pick to sign when he agreed to a deal yesterday evening. It is unusual for the third round draft pick to be the last to sign but this is unusual times for the Bills. He missed just one full practice.

Friday July 29, 2011

Moats Working Inside: Chan Gailey and Buddy Nix held a press conference this evening as they officially announced the signings of Brad Smith and Tyler Thigpen. Gailey said he will use Smith in the wildcat and is excited to find ways to get him on the field including some at wide receiver. He feels Thigpen is an asset because of their history together and his strong arm. The Bills have a plan to fill the inside linebacker spot vacated by Paul Posluszny. Gailey said Arthur Moats will get some work at inside linebacker and they may use him there to rush the passer in blitzing situations. Reggie Torbor will lineup as the starter on the inside next to Andra Davis. Gailey also said Eric Wood will lineup at center and battle it out with Geoff Hangartner. They will look to see what the best combo is on the line.

Bills Get On The Field: The team took the field for conditioning grills in a closed practice today. Rookie Domonic Cook left the field on a golf cart but Gailey said he will be fine. Gailey also said that Cordaro Howard and Reggie Corner will start camp on the PUP list.

Williams Agrees: Aaron Williams announced on his twitter feed that he has agreed to a contract with the team in time to join them for their first practice tomorrow. He said he's on his way to camp. That leaves just third round pick Kelvin Sheppard without a deal. Earlier today Marcell Dareus led a group of draft picks that signed deals with the team. He is on the field at St. Johns Fisher this afternoon as the team is going through conditioning drills.

Dareus Signs: The Bills were able to get Marcell Dareus into camp before the first full practice tomorrow. He signed a 4 year deal worth $20.4 Million. It is all guaranteed. The Bills also signed four other picks late last night and today. 6th round pick Chris White signed a contract worth $2.16 Million and has a signing bonus of $120,600. 7th round pick Justin Rogers also agreed to terms. 5th round pick Johnny White and 4th rounder Da'Norris Searcy are also under contract now. That would leave just 2nd round pick Aaron Williams and 3rd rounder Kelvin Sheppard without deals. The new CBA has made it a lot easier to sign draft picks so they should all be in by the end of the weekend. The Bills are in the classroom at St. Johns Fisher College today and will hold some conditioning drills. Their first full practice is tomorrow afternoon. Remember the quickest way to get breaking news from Bills Daily is to follow us on twitter.

Thursday July 28, 2011

Hairston Signs: 4th round draft pick Chris Hairston is the second draft pick to sign today. Seven picks remain unsigned including top pick Marcell Dareus. It should get easier to sign him now that the 2nd and 4th overall picks in the draft are signed. Front Office Page.

Bills Sign WR: The Bills made another splash in free agency today by signing former Jets WR Brad Smith to a 4 year deal worth $15 Million. He is a fast receiver who is an excellent kick returner. Definitely not a position of need for the Bills. He is the perfect slash guy that Chan Gailey loves. He also plays quarterback and running back making him perfect for the wildcat offense.

Bills Announce 19 UFA Signings: The Bills officially announced the signing of 19 undrafted free agents. We already had about two thirds of the names on our list. There are two guys named Aiken. A punter, long snapper, and a kicker along with a tight end. There are also three linebackers on the list of newest Bills. Depth Chart.

Jasper Signs: The Bills have signed their first draft pick today. 7th round pick Michael Jasper agreed to terms with the team. He was the last of nine selections in April's draft for the Bills. Expect most of the remaining eight to sign quickly as training camp is due to start tomorrow.

Wednesday July 27, 2011

Florence Stays: Drayton Florence is staying with the Bills. He tweeted this afternoon that it is official, he is back in Buffalo. Florence reportedly was involved in a bidding war between the Bills and the Jets. Adam Schefter reports that the deal is a three year deal worth $15 Million. He was the most dependable corner they had last year and said he wanted to return to Buffalo.

Nix On Poz: Buddy Nix was on WGR this morning and said they gave Paul Posluszny a competitive offer but he decided to go to Jacksonville. He would not speculate on why he chose the Jaguars but did say it wasn't about money indicating the Bills gave a comparable offer. WGR is reporting that a league source told them the Bills offered him a four year deal for less money. Nix said yesterday Poz was a high priority but he feels they can fill the hole from within with the two draft picks they picked at the position. He feels it will give them an opportunity and somebody would step up. Losing Poz doesn't change their philosophy but if a guy comes available at any position that could upgrade them, they will make a run at him. He did say he was comfortable with what he has on the roster at inside linebacker. It seems like they will not go after a top notch free agent to replace Posluszny which seems to be typical of the Bills as they became a worse football team today. Nix expects to be competitive in bidding to retain Drayton Florence. A report from the NFL Network says that the Bills and Jets are in a bidding war for him.

Thigpen Agrees To Deal: The Bills have reportedly agreed to terms with Tyler Thigpen on a three year contract. This is no surprise as the team needed a backup quarterback and Thigpen thrived in Chan Gailey's system in Kansas City. His agent said six teams called him and they had two other serious offers but he wanted to come to Buffalo and is extremely excited about it.

Bills Lose Poz: The Bills have lost Paul Posluszny. He has agreed to terms on a six year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars worth a reported $7 Million per year. He reportedly was torn with taking the deal since he wanted to stay in Buffalo. The deciding factor apparently was a chance to play in a 4-3 defense which he is more comfortable in.

Tuesday July 26, 2011

Fitz First One In: Ryan Fitzpatrick was the first player in to One Bills Drive and he addressed the media after the initial press conference by Bills Brass. Fitzpatrick made it known that it is his show from the beginning and he's excited to be the guy. He feels there will be no problem being ready for opening day. He went on to praise WR Marcus Easley who had his rookie season wiped out by a knee injury in training camp. He called him a special talent and feels they have developed good chemistry in the player organized workouts. Buddy Nix said earlier that Fitzpatrick may be one of the players they target for a contract extension. Fitzpatrick's press conference was interrupted by Levi Brown who yelled out "let's go, it's time to get to work."

Press Conference: The Bills held a welcome back to football press conference this morning at One Bills Drive with Russ Brandon, Buddy Nix, and Chan Gailey. They confirmed the players will report to St. Johns Fisher on Friday and workouts will begin on Saturday. They do need to alter the way they work at the college because of a new track and field stadium that was put in. Nix said the changes in the amount of money they need to spend due to the new CBA will not change their philosophy. They will continue to build through the draft and try to keep their own. Nix reiterated that re-signing Paul Posluszny and Drayton Florence is a priority. Florence told WGR this morning that he wants to remain a Bill but needs to see what is offered. Nix called Posluszny a smart leader and tough guy and said they will look at offensive tackle in free agency but they like the current group. As far as Donte Whitner goes, Nix said there is no change in his feeling regarding the player. Nix previously said it appears Whitner doesn't want to be in Buffalo so they most likely have closed the door on him. He feels they will be able to get their draft picks signed in short order because of the accelerated timeline there is little benefit for them to holdout. Brandon said it's fair to say that the Bills liked the revenue sharing plan in the new CBA.

Undrafted Free Agent Signings Begin: Starting today teams can begin signing undrafted free agents along with their draft picks. Negotiations were able to begin last night with undrafted players and names continue to leak out on who the Bills have signed. UB safety Domonic Cook leads the early list along with North Carolina TE Zack Pinalto and Florida RB Emmanuel Moody. We are listing all players that the Bills are signing on our front office page with links to their profiles when available. Undrafted Player Signings.

Employees Paid: Now that the lockout is over the Bills have immediately have reinstated salaries and 401k payments to their employees. They also have reimbursed employees for back pay and contributions to the 401k. They had cut employees pay by 25% during the lockout.

Monday July 25, 2011

NFL Calendar Set: Beginning tomorrow at 10am teams will be able to start trading and the rosters will be expanded to 90 players. Teams can then start signing their draft picks and undrafted free agents. Negotiations can also begin with unrestricted, restricted, and exclusive rights free agents but they cannot be signed until 6pm on Friday. The Bills will open training camp on Friday and the facility will open tomorrow for current players. A quick glance at the league calendar is on the right side of our hompeage.

Wilson Statement: Ralph Wilson released a statement regarding the end of the NFL Lockout. He said, "I am happy that the players and the owners have reached an agreement. This has been a long, arduous process for everyone. But in the end, we have a deal that is fair to both our players and the teams and, at the same time, protects the integrity of our game heading into the future. And that is extremely important as we move forward. To our fans, I say thank you for your patience and your understanding during these past four months. So with this great news today, it is time for all of us to focus on the 2011 season and look ahead to Training Camp. Iím excited about the direction our team is heading as we enter the upcoming season and I know our players and fans share in that excitement."

Poz Wants To Return: Paul Posluszny spoke to AP's John Warrow and told him that the Bills remain his top priority but he will look to see what is out there as well. The Bills will likely make Poz their top priority and with plenty of money to spend under the cap there is a good chance they can get a deal done.

Camp Likely Starting Friday: NFL Network is reporting that the Bills will start training camp on Friday. The league says camp must start at least 15 days before their first preseason game. The Bills first game is August 13th, so Friday will be 15 days before their debut. Details remain sketchy on the league schedule for free agency and trades.

Free Agency On Horizon: All reports say that today's player vote on the new CBA is considered a mere formality. The players are expected to approve the deal that was finalized in the wee hours of the morning. Latest reports also say that free agency could start as early as tomorrow. It is also expected to be open free agency meaning teams will not have an exclusive window to re-sign their own players. Training camps are expected to open as early as Thursday for about a third of the teams. The remainder of the teams will open camps Friday and Saturday. The Bills will be holding camp at St. Johns Fisher College despite the short time to get ready for it. Player moves will happen fast and furious over the next week including the signing of undrafted free agents. Our front office page will be your one stop shopping for all player moves.

Hubbard Arrested: There was some distrubing off the field news regarding a member of the Bills. WR Paul Hubbard has been arrested and charged with DUI after he allegedly struck a police officer early Sunday morning. Hubbard has had very limited playing time with the Bills spending most of his time on the practice squad. We have him on the bottom of our depth chart at the receiver position. The officer that was hit was treated and released from an area hospital.

Friday July 22, 2011

Lockout Ending? The owners held a press conference last night saying they have ratified the CBA but the players have yet to vote on it. If they pass it, like some say will happen today, then the league year will start on Wednesday with free agency, trading, and the opening of training camps. Players would be allowed back in the facilities tomorrow and they could begin signing draft picks and negotiating with their own free agents. Important for the Bills, the owners passed a new revenue sharing plan that must be good for small market teams as they all voted for it including the Bills.

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