McDermott Presser: Sean McDermott addressed the media after Tyrod Taylor. He started off by giving credit to the entire organization for getting so many players signed so early in free agency. He called it an entire team effort. It's a tough time of year since you use good players. The ones they lost are good players but they are going to do everything in the power to find players that fit the DNA that will add competition and depth at every position. The release of Aaron Williams was strictly a football decision and that was a tough decision to make. On Micah Hyde he plays multiple positions and he is a great value for them and played in big games. The players they got fit that mold of versatility, intangibles, and toughness. On signing two fullbacks, they are a big part of this offense but it just isn't about playing fullback it's about versatility and leadership and that is what Mike Tolbert brings as he had a front row seat in seeing what he can do including transitioning to running back when they need him too. He is different than what Patrick DiMarco brings to the table. He had the video games and pool tables removed from the locker room because it is a business and they have to stay focused on the task of hand. They have to earn the right to win on a daily basis and playing video games doesn't do that. He added later that he left the ping pong table because he jokingly said it adds ball skills. They will look to add at wide receiver in a methodical way. On the Taylor decision he said the process was phenomenal they had very productive and healthy meetings which sometimes lead to disagreements but those are healthy. This was a decision they all agreed upon to put the organization in the right direction at this time. At corner he said they have a lot of confidence in both Ronald Darby and Kevon Seymour at the position. They will still pursue every opportunity to improve that position as well. At right tackle he said they have some pieces there but they are looking at it hard.
Taylor Presser: Tyrod Taylor flew back to Buffalo to sign his restructured contract today and addressed the media this evening. He feels working with Rick Dennison before and the relationship he has built with Coach McDermott during his rehab work at the facility made him feel moving forward this was the place to be. He said from day one his committment was to this team, this community to bring back a winning team and he wants to reach those goals. His focus this past offseason was to get healthy. At that time of his benching in the final week of the season he didn't know what his future held but he has learned from that experience and put that behind him but will use it as motivation in workouts. He likes the vision McDermott has for the team. He is ultimately happy to be back in Buffalo competing with the guys in the locker room. He knows things didn't go too well last year and he knows he could have been better as well. He feels the restructuring was the best thing for both sides to do. He believes the new offensive system will have some changes with play action passes and allowing Sammy Watkins to move around some more. He spent one year in the scheme in Baltimore and he feels they can have a lot of big plays in it. On his relationship with Doug Whaley, he said they both learned from what happened and they were able to come to terms on the deal. If it was a bad relationship he wouldn't be here today. He feels McDermott is very detailed and serious about his approach and everything he heard about him was good. Seeing him day to day makes him thinks he has the right message for the team and he's excited to play for him. McDermott is looking to change the culture and have a business mindset. Every position is just going to compete. When asked by Joe Buscaglia when he thought about restructuring, he said it was just a couple of days ago. So this wasn't a long negotiation.
Bills Add Two Safeties: Free agency is now underway and the Bills have announced the signing of five players. They officially announced the previously reported signings of Patrick DiMarco, Vladimir Ducasse, and Stephen Hauschka. They also added two defensive backs that weren't previously reported including the versatile Micah Hyde and Browns safety Jordan Poyer. Hyde comes from Green Bay and can play both safety spots, corner, and nickel corner. The Bills need his versatility after losing Stephon Gilmore and releasing Aaron Williams and Nickell Robey-Coleman. Poyer is a solid special teams player who was starting last year at free safety before a lacerated kidney ended his season early. The five newest Bills are now onboard along with yesterday's signing of Mike Tolbert, the contract restructure of Tyrod Taylor, and the re-signing of non tendered free agent Colton Schmidt. Front Office Page.
Taylor On WGR: The Bills will make Tyrod Taylor available to the media at 6pm when he arrives back in town. He appeared on WGR this afternoon and said he feels good. He has been around the coaching staff the past couple of months while doing rehab. He spoke to them on a daily basis and he is comfortable with them. He is looking forward to getting back into a scheme he is familiar with as he knows a couple of the coaches from his time in Baltimore. He can't wait to get back with his teammates most of all. He said Rick Dennison's system is very quarterback friendly. He thinks they can do a good job of getting their playmakers involved. Meeting with Coach McDermott he sees he is very deatil oriented. They will approach each day with a workman like attitude. His message will be one that everyone can gravitate too and get back on track. He said it is tough to see Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin leave but they deserve what they got. He puts his faith in coaches and management to bring in guys who can make plays for them. He didn't envision having to restructure his contract a year after signing it but you have to keep moving forward and he is has put last year behind him and is excited to be back. He is glad they were able to come to an agreement. Tyrod said he knows it's a business and Coach McDermott kept the lines of communication open he is just happy it is behind him since it's a difficult process. His focus was getting healthy this offseason and not the contract but it was on his mind. He will continue to be more vocal after being around the team for two years and will look to lead by example.
Aaron Released: The Bills have confirmed the release of Aaron Williams today. The move frees up $4.2 Million under the cap if he is designated a June 1st cut according to Mike Rodak. They save $1.775M if he is released without that designation. There is a chance that this is a precursor to Williams retiring after suffering two serious neck injuries the past two seasons.
Woods To Rams: Robert Woods is heading back to the stadium he played his college ball in. He has agreed to terms with the Rams and will paly his home games at the famed L.A. Coliseum until the new stadium is ready. His deal is for five years and is worth $39 Million with $15 Million guaranteed according to Adam Schefter. That was too rich for the Bills blood. Sal Capaccio reports the Bills were only willing to go as high as $5M to $6M a year. Front Office Page.
Gilmore To Pats: The Bills were not making a push to bring back Stephon Gilmore but it may sting a bit to see that he will sign with the New England Patriots. The market wasn't falling his way as talks with the Bears fell through. A rare big money free agent signing for the Pats.
Bills Reportedly Add Kicker: Adam Schefter is reporting that the Bills have come to terms with Seattle free agent kicker Steve Hauschka. He was 4th in field goal percentage last year but did struggle with extra points like Dan Carpenter did last year. Schefter reports the deal is for four years and is worth $12.4 Million. In other news, the Bills are trying hard to retain Lorenzo Alexander but according to Sal Capaccio no offer has been made yet. Ian Rapoport reports that the Bills are interested in free agent TE Martellus Bennett. Front Office Page.
Wednesday March 8, 2017
Bills Add Ravens Offensive Linemen: The Bills have raided the Ravens for a free agent guard as Juan Castillo is bringing with him someone he coached in Baltimore. Jason LaCanfora reports that the Bills have reached an agreement on free agent guard Vlad Ducasse. He adds interior linemen depth behind starters Richie Incognito and John Miller. The Bills also tendered their main backup in Ryan Groy. There is a chance they see him as a possibility at right tackle if he can kick it outside.
Bills Sign Tolbert: Looks like the Bills are starting free agency tomorrow with not one but two new fullbacks. After reportedly adding run grader Patrick DiMarco they have now offically added someone Sean McDermott knows well in Mike Tolbert. He is more of a running fullback as he carried the ball often in Carolina. There is talk they will use him as a goal line running back. Tolbert has appeared in 131 games with 44 starts. He has 630 career carries for 2,402 yards and 33 rushing touchdowns to go along with 203 catches for 1,783 yards and 12 touchdowns receiving. The move may also protect them in case they lose Mike Gillislee. He was able to sign before free agency begins because he was released by the Panthers. David Newton of ESPN reports it's a one year deal worth $1M so there isn't much of an investment by the Bills.
Easley Released: The Bills added another $1M+ in cap space by releasing Marcus Easley. He missed all of last year with a horrific knee injury suffered late in the 2015 season.
Taylor Contract Details: The restructured deal signed by Tyrod Taylor will likely give him the lowest cap figure of any starting QB in the league this year. He will have a $10 Million cap figure that will give the Bills $6 Million in cap relief. Vic Carucci reported it is a five year deal that goes year to year the final three years of the contract. He will get a $7 Million signing bonus.
DiMarco Coming: There is a report that the Bills have agreed to terms with free agent fullback Patrick DiMarco from the NFC champion Falcons. Earlier in the day the Bills were connected to Ravens FB Kyle Juszczyk. The deal is reportedly for 4 years worth $8.5 Million with over $4 Million in guaranteed funds. For his career he has 37 catches for 273 yards and four touchdowns. He is known more has a true blocking fullback than Juszczyk and will be a fine replacement for Jerome Felton. Pro Football Focus rated him the best run blocking fullback in the league last year.
Goodwin, Zach Gone? Other rumors have the Bills connected with Bengals WR Brandon LaFell but he has re-signed with Cincinnati. It appears Zach Brown is leaving. He tweeted a message to Preston Brown that he will miss playing with him next year. They is also a report that Marquise Goodwin will be signing with the 49ers.
Schmidt Back: The Bills also announced today that they have signed Colton Schmidt to a new deal. He was set to become an unrestricted free agent after they failed to tender him. The new deal likely will be less of a cap hit than the low tender of $1.797 Million.
Bills Keeping Tyrod: The Bills have announced that they are keeping Tyrod Taylor as their quarterback on a restructured contract that would presumably would open up cap space for free agency. Reports have been rampant that the coaches wanted to keep Tyrod while the front office wanted him to go. If this is true score one for Sean McDermott and company. This news broke moments after John Warrow of the Associated Press reported that a person familiar with the discussions tells AP that the Bills are in talks with Brian Hoyer. They may have realized they wouldn't save much by swapping Taylor for Hoyer. McDermott released a statement that said, "We are excited about the opportunity to keep Tyrod with the Bills, I've gotten a chance to know Tyrod and study him over the past several weeks and he is both a great person and competitor. Doug and I are confident this was best move for the Bills at this time."
Two Ravens Linked To Bills: The Bills were reportedly interested in two free agents from the Baltimore Ravens but one is reportedly off the market now. Adam Schefter reports that the Bills are the favorite to land FB Kyle Juszczyk and Michael Lombardi reports the Bills wanted right tackle Rickey Wagner who has now reportedly agreed to a deal with Detroit worth $9M a year. Juszczyk made the Pro Bowl this past year and is a hybrid fullback/tight end. He is a solid pass catcher out of the backfield which is what Rick Dennison's offense covets from the fullback spot.
Negotiating Period In Full Swing: The open negotiating period began yesterday at noon and continues until the start of free agency at 4pm tomorrow. Rumors are getting out on interest of certain players. Nobody has been associated with the Bills but at least three of their 22 unrestricted free agents are reportedly being pursued. The Bears are reportedly ready to give a big offer to Stephon Gilmore. The Redskins are reportedly interested in Marquise Goodwin while the Chargers may be looking at the top Bills receiver on the market Robert Woods. The Bills may be in a holding pattern at the beginning of free agency until they decide what to do with Tyrod Taylor. They have until 4pm Saturday to either pickup his option or release him.
Tuesday March 7, 2017
Groy Also Tendered: The Bills have officially announced the tendering of Ryan Groy and Mike Gillislee. They both were tendered at the lowest level which means if they lose Gillislee they would get a 5th round pick in return. Since Groy was undrafted they would get no compensation. They do have a right to match any offer they receive or they can try to sign them to long term contracts to alleviate cap issues. The tenders mean $3.594M comes off the cap at this point. That puts them slightly more than $20 Million under the cap according to Mike Rodak of ESPN. The team announced they will not tender their other two restricted free agents, Colton Schmidt and Ik Enemkpali. The Bills appear to be cleaning house of their specialists while Enemkpali was a Ryan guy. They will both become unrestricted free agents at 4pm on Thurday. It is quite possible the Bills bring Schmidt back for cheaper than the tender or a long term deal. Front Office Page.
Gillislee Tendered: The Bills have until Thursday at 4pm to decide what to do with their restricted free agents but have already made one call. They have placed an original round tender on RB Mike Gillislee according to Ian Rapoport. That means if a team signs him away from the Bills it would cost them a fifth round pick but the Bills do have the right to match any offer. The team and Gillislee are working on a long term deal that would give them some cap relief. The tender figure for him is $1.797M and will count against the cap unless a long term deal is reached. A 2nd round tender would have cost them just under another Million. Failing to do that last year cost them Chris Hogan. Let's see if history repeats itself. The open negotiating period for free agents begins at noon today. Depth Chart.
Monday March 6, 2017
Bills Release Five: The Bills opened up room under the salary cap in anticipation of the start of free agency by releasing five players including Dan Carpenter, Garrison Sanborn, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Gerald Christian, and Phillip Thomas. Carpenter was an expected cut after he struggled last year but it was a bit of a surprise that Robey-Coleman and Sanborn were let go. Sanborn has been a solid long snapper throughout his career in Buffalo. Robey-Coleman has been a solid starter in the nickel spot. ESPN's Mike Rodak reports that they saved $5 Million in cap space with the release as Carpenter saved $2.4 Million while Robey-Coleman saves $1.65 Million and Sanbron saves just under a Million.
League Year Begins This Week: This will get very interesting for the Bills this week as the league year begins. Tomorrow begins the pre free agency open negotiating perios where team's will have two days to openly negotiate with other team's free agents. The league year opens on Thursday and at 4pm teams will be able to sign other team's free agents and must tender their own restricted free agents by then. The Bills will be looking very closely at the quarterback market this week as they have to make the final decision on picking up the option on Tyrod Taylor by 4pm on Saturday. We will keep you updated on all the rumors and news throughout the week.
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