Oh, hello. Is free agency still happening? Lovely. Have the Bills signed anyone? Probably not. Wait!! They had dinner with Fred Davis?! I'M UP!!! Wait, is he any good?
The Bills are about three weeks into the festivities and have signed one player (Manny Lawson) who lost his job last season. As of right now, there doesn't seem to be any free agents out there that are going to really change the identity of the Bills. We are now to the Dwan Edwards portion of free agency. Don't know what that means? Well, I go back to when the Bills signed him in 2010, which came a good 2 weeks after free agency started.
He wasn't exactly an exciting name out there, but when the Bills signed him there seemed to a collective sigh of relief because the Bills actually signed someone! Cheers for the new guy! Follow him on Twitter, Bills Mafioso. Of course, Dwan didn't really accomplish much here.
Yup, it gets to that point of just wanting to see the Bills make the rumor roundup because there's not much to cheer for at this time. Anyone signed will be greeted with thunderous applause followed by a "Is he any good?" rhetoric. Yup, that's free agency this year for the Bills. Obviously, we know what the Bills needs are by now and anyone they end up signing will probably be nothing more than a band-aid at this point.
For this piece, I'm going to check out what the Bills can do offensively in free agency. If I'm still awake by the end of this week, I'll be sure to post something about the defense. But I am a sucker for a good nap.
Brad Smith is our #2 WR right now. Kill me now. I think Russell Copeland is rolling over in his grave at the thought of that. We know the big names are gone, but at this point, anyone out there is better than Brad Smith. Darrius Heyward-Bey has been talked about a bit, mainly because Stevie Johnson hangs out with him and he's been trying to recruit him. He could be a nice fit for the Bills since they are in need for someone who can stretch the field. He knows the west coast offense under Greg Knapp and has shown some flashes in the past to be a legit WR. In 2011, Advanced Stats had him listed as the 25th best WR in the NFL. His pass targets -for which a receiver is greater than 15 yards beyond the line of scrimmage- was at 41% in 2011, ranking in the top 10, meaning, that all he pretty much does is run deep routes.
However, his problem is that he's been too inconsistent because of injuries and drops. Last year, he had two or fewer catches in 7 of his 15 games played. It also doesn't hurt that fans have been hard on him because of where he was drafted (7th overall in 2009) and most thought it was an ultimate reach by the Raiders. It is like the offensive version of Donte Whitner.
In Buffalo, he won't have to live up to those expectations because he wouldn't have to be the #1 WR. Stevie Johnson would help take the pressure off of him and when you consider how bad the options were out around DHB in Oakland, he'd be happy to play around a pro like Stevie. He wouldn't have to carry the burden of the offense.
Would I take a feeler on him? If the price is right, sure. You may be able to get him for like 4-million for one season with DHB hoping to parlay that into a long term deal down the road. The guy is only 26 and he's made serious strides since he first started in the NFL.
Danario Alexander is another young speedster the Bills could take a look at. He averaged an eye-popping 17.8 yards a catch, which ranked 3rd in the NFL, and he's only 24. He also has a knack for getting in the end zone as he had 7 touchdowns on just 37 catches. He has had some knee injuries in the past, which has hurt him in the eyes of the Chargers and other NFL teams, but once again, he's better than what we got. Earlier this month, the Chargers placed the low tender on Alexander that was worth only $1.323 million. San Diego then would have the opportunity to match the deal; otherwise, Alexander would join the new team with the Chargers receiving no draft compensation for the 24-year-old. I say give the guy 16-million over 4 years.
Other WR scraps:
Devery Henderson- Knows the offense and coached under Doug Marrone at New Orleans. Averaged 17.9 yards a catch for his career.
Randy Moss- Won't happen, but I'd totally buy his jersey if it went down.
Domenik Hixon- Although his numbers seem modest (39 catches for 567 yards and 2TDs) he played pretty well when called to start with Cruz and Hicks nursing injuries. In two of his starts last year, the 28-year-old had 11 catches for 169 yards. Of course he had Eli Manning throwing him passes.
This goes back to just begging to hear the Bills make the FA rumor mil. When word came out that the Bills were wining and dinning with Fred Davis in DC on Saturday night, I wouldn't say I was overjoyed, but at least I was happy that they were finally getting Ralph Wilson's private plane out of the hanger in Detroit.
I liked Davis a lot coming out of USC and although he's battled injuries in the past, he has a 59 catch season on his resume with Rex Grossman and John Beck throwing him the ball in just 12 games in 2011. His 13.4 yards a catch that season were the 8th most by a TE in the NFL. He's only 27 and he's pretty much been in a variation of the west coast offense for most of his career.
Yes, he's coming off a torn achilles tendon and with Scott Chandler coming off a serious injury as well, you'll have two TEs with question marks. Oh, and did I mention he was suspended for PEDs in 2011? Well, I guess with Merriman retired, we need to have a new leader in the clubhouse for smuggling PEDs into the locker room. Still, I like him and if the Bills want him, they will have to overpay for him. Martellus Bennett got 5-million from the Bears, so, you may be talking about 4-5 million a year for him.
Honestly, I don't see anyone left the Bills would sign. Not only because I don't see them paying for one, but there just doesn't seem to be many guards out there. Unless the guy is on waivers like a Kraig Urbik or Erik Pears, I have no clue who they could sign. Both those examples were players they picked up during the season off waivers.
I just don't see them doing much.
Last time the Bills signed a named OL free agent in the offseason was 2009 when they picked up Geoff Hangartner. I know they need to find a guard somewhere, but I don't think they are picking up Brandon Moore because of the Marrone connection. Especially since he's 32. As I wrote before, I don't think Nix and Marrone value offensive line all that much when it comes to paying out the position. Look for them to address guard in the 3rd round.
Final word: If you believe the mock drafts (********), all of them pretty much pencil the Bills to go after a WR or QB. If you are going for the QB, I think adding Fred Davis or DHB would really help in making it easier for that QB to transition to the NFL. It just isn't fair for him to have Brad Smith or TJ Graham lining up on every down. You wanna give the rookie QB incumbent all the weapons he wants at his disposal. If they go WR, then you probably don't have to sign any other FA WRs. I do think the group that is left has some value, especially with their age and at 4-5 million dollars a year, I don't think you are going to destroy Ralph's vault.
Of course, I may just be wanting the Bills to sign something for the sake of excitement since this has been a bore of a Month.