5 Buffalo Bills Who Must Be Kicked To The Curb Before Free Agency
5 Buffalo Bills Players Who Should Be Released Before Free Agency
It's now 14 years of futility and counting for the Buffalo Bills. If the Bills want to avoid adding the 2014 season to the list of non-playoff years, then the team needs to continue to upgrade the roster.
Buffalo GM Doug Whaley has the team in good shape cap-wise. The Bills are expected to have roughly $19 million to spend on draft picks and free agents. Whaley has some options to free up more cap space, as well as make room on the roster for free agents.
The Bills will not be jettisoning any of their big-name players. Mario Williams, Stevie Johnson, Kyle Williams and Jerry Hughes will be in a Bills uniform this season. Safety Jairus Byrd is a safe bet to either re-sign with the team or get the franchise tag. If the Bills franchise Byrd, the price tag will be around $8.3 million. One way or another, Byrd is in a Bills uniform this season.
The offensive line gave up 48 sacks and the third-most pressures in the NFL in 2013. E.J. Manuel, Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel were left scrambling for their lives more often than not. Whaley will look to shore up an offensive line with younger, more athletic players.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bills improved against their league-worst run defense from 2012. It was still bad, however. To complicate matters, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine left to take the Cleveland Browns head coaching job. In steps former Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz. This means a new scheme for the players to learn. Schwartz and head coach Doug Marrone will need to sit down and review the roster. The team needs to figure out which players fit Schwartz’s scheme and which do not.
Buffalo is taking steps in the right direction. The team was competitive in most of its games in 2013, a positive sign for a young team. Expect Marrone and his staff to continue the upward trend, starting with these roster moves.
5. Erik Pears
Pears struggled in run blocking in 2013. He was the third-worst rated tackle in this category. The former UDFA turns 32 this year. His 2014 cap hit is $3.45 million. Only $550,000 of this is dead money, so expect the Bills to look to upgrade either through free agency or the draft.
4. Doug Legursky
The left guard position was a revolving door in 2013. Colin Brown had the first shot at stabilizing the position. He was released before Week 7. Legursky stepped in next, but he was not much better. The Bills led the league in rushing attempts last season, so the team needs a guard who can open holes for the running backs. Expect the front office to address this position in 2014.
3. Kevin Kolb
Kolb's future in the NFL is uncertain. His concussion history makes him a liability for the Bills. How many more hits can he sustain before his life after football is affected? It does not seem to be worth the risk. Kolb's $3.6 million cap hit may make this an easy decision for Whaley.
2. Manny Lawson
Releasing Lawson will not save the Bills much money, but this move is not about money. How he fits in Schwartz's new defense is the question. Lawson was brought to Buffalo to fill a need in Perrine's defensive scheme. His departure most likely means the same thing for Lawson.
1. Arthur Moats
Moats is a free agent anyway, so letting him go will not cost the Bills financially. The linebacker is a solid special teams player who saw limited action on defense. He is too small to rush the passer and too slow in coverage. Buffalo can find a suitable replacement for Moats in free agency.