Bills Free Agency: QB Webb, three RBs set to hit the open market

January 16, 2018
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The Bills have eighteen players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on March 14, the first day of the new league year.  All of them are eligible to re-sign with the club before hitting the open market.  However, those who played 2017 on one-year veteran minimum deals have to wait until March 14, unless they agree to another one-year, vet minimum contract with the Bills.  If they do, they can re-sign before then.

The advantage for the team signing a player to a one-year vet minimum contract is that no matter how many years of service they’ve had in the NFL, he will only count as a player with two years of service against the salary cap, which will be $630,000 in 2018.

Here’s a look at the Bills' quarterbacks and running backs scheduled to become UFAs in March and how I see their situations:

QB - Joe Webb
Played on the 1-year veteran minimum in 2017.  He has value to the Bills as a multi-positional player as both a quarterback and wide receiver, as well as a special teams contributor.  He played QB in the snowstorm game against the Colts after Nathan Peterman left with a concussion.  He most likely won’t have many offers on the open market, other than on another vet minimum deal, which means the Bills could very well bring him back and should be able to if they want.

RB - Mike Tolbert
Played on the 1-year veteran minimum in 2017.  Bills’ fans became very frustrated watching Tolbert touch the ball so often last season, especially when there were plays called for him to attack the edge or catch it out of the backfield on third and long.  He finished with 247 yards rushing and 14 catches for 78 yards.  Knowing how much head coach Sean McDermott values veteran character players and his familiarity with Tolbert, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him back on another vet minimum deal.  But they’d probably be better served by allowing him to move on and going younger at a position where the starter, LeSean McCoy, will be 30 next year.

RB - Taiwan Jones
Jones was a surprise to make the roster at the start of the year for most after signing a 1-year veteran minimum deal.  But the coaching staff loved his speed and ability to contribute on special teams.  He only had one carry, but it was a memorable run with two minutes left to essentially seal a win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week six.  He broke his arm on an onsides kick attempt during the team’s Thursday Night game at the Jets in week eight and was placed on IR for the rest of the season.  Considering he was active each game before the injury, that’s an indication the Bills like him enough that they may possibly want him back on another vet minimum contract.  And since a broken arm isn’t an injury to be overly concerned about once it’s healed, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at training camp in 2018.

RB - Travaris Cadet
Signed with the Bills midway through the season on a 1-year veteran minimum deal after Jones went down.  Cadet played well when called upon as McCoy's backup, gaining 93 yards on 22 carries and another 93 yards receiving on 13 catches.  But he was placed on IR with one week left after injuring his ankle in week 16 at New England.  With 90 players allowed on training camp rosters, Cadet might get another vet minimum offer by the Bills to compete for a job, but the journeyman RB will probably be available later in the offseason or even once the season starts in case of emergency, so there’s no rush.  

 

Full list of Bills' players scheduled to become free agents:
http://www.wgr550.com/articles/news/what-bills-are-scheduled-become-free-agents


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