CAPACCIO: Bills UFAs - OL/DL
By Sal Capaccio
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.
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