Offseason Overview: Bills Still Have a Ways to Go

Edwards in trouble 
FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

• LB Mario Haggan is likely to be retained for depth and special teams work. He appeared in all 16 games for a fourth consecutive season, recording 13 special teams hits and career-high 16 tackles on defense.

• DE Anthony Hargrove has been suspended for 2008 after violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy and has worn out his nine lives.

• FB/TE Ryan Neufeld isn’t a priority to retain now that the team has decided to employ a true fullback again.

• DE Al Wallace spent the entire year in IR. Team needs a better option.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)

• RB Shaud Williams (not tendered as RFA) was added to the roster in late December but isn’t a high priority at a deep position.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS

• LB Blake Costanzo is not a high priority.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

• TE Courtney Anderson: UFA Falcons; terms unknown.

• CB Will James: UFA Eagles; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

• DT Spencer Johnson: UFA Vikings; $17.5M/5 yrs, $6M guaranteed.

• TE Teyo Johnson: FA; terms unknown.

• LB Kawika Mitchell: UFA Giants; $17.5M/5 yrs, $3.5M guaranteed.

• DT Marcus Stroud (trade Jaguars).

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

• S Dustin Fox: ERFA; terms unknown.

• DT Jason Jefferson: RFA; tendered at $927,000, terms unknown.

• DE Corey Mace: ERFA; terms unknown..

• TE Tim Massaquoi: ERFA; terms unknown.

• WR Scott Mayle: ERFA; terms unknown.

• OT Matt Murphy: UFA; terms unknown.

• S Bryan Scott: UFA; terms unknown.

• OG Jason Whittle: UFA; terms unknown.

PLAYERS LOST

• WR Sam Aiken: UFA Patriots; $1.555M/2 yrs, $225,000 SB/$40,000 WO.

• CB Jerametrius Butler (released).

• TE Michael Gaines: UFA Lions; $10M/4 yrs, $3M guaranteed.

• LB Leon Joe: UFA Buccaneers; terms unknown.

• S Jim Leonhard: Not tendered as RFA/Ravens; terms unknown.

• WR Peerless Price (released/failed physical).

• LB Josh Stamer: UFA Titans; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

• RB Anthony Thomas (released).

• CB Kiwaukee Thomas (released).

• DT Larry Tripplett (released).

• CB Jason Webster: UFA Patriots; $800,000/1 yr, $130,000 guaranteed/$70,000 WO.

• LB Coy Wire (released/failed physical).

Last season the Bills wrapped up another middle of the road season at 7-9, good for second in the AFC East, but far away from being a legit contender in the AFC overall. The team has spent the offseason trying to upgrade the offense, and after spending their first round pick on corner Leodis McKelvin, the team grabbed James Hardy at wide out from Indiana, hoping that he will make an impact. The team did little otherwise on the offensive side of the ball, but hope that maturity and playing together for a full season will help.

Last year they scored just 15.8 points per game, not nearly enough to hang with the big boys of the AFC. Their defense allowed 22 per game, and showed signs at times of being very good. Now the question will be can coach Dick Jaruon get them to be even better to take some of the pressure off of a young offense. QB is another issue, as it looks as if Trent Edwards will get the nod as the starter, at least at the open of camp. J.P. Losman has had a tough year, and has expressed he wants out if he’s going to play second fiddle to Edwards. Bottom line is the Bills are still a few years away from being a contender.

Offseason Grade to Date: C-


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