It seems like a fantasy at this point, but the Buffalo Bills started 4-2 last season, including a blowout win over the Arizona Cardinals and a 16-0 shutout against the New England Patriots. (Jacoby Brissett started at QB but still pretty impressive against Bill Belichick.) But the Bills dropped their next three games and then four of their last five on the season.
With that result, the team decided it was time to move on from Rex Ryan and bring in the Sean McDermott era, the former defensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers. McDermott has some really interesting decisions to make in his quest to rebuilt the Buffalo defense, especially since some of their best players are about to be free agents.
Will some of these free agents be taking snaps for the Seattle Seahawks next year? That’s possible for one really good defensive tackle (not a FA but a cap casualty candidate) and on offense, they have a tackle who seems destined to disappoint Seahawks fans within the year.
Impending Free Agents
Lorenzo Alexander, LB
Alexander’s breakout season for the Bills at age 33 (12.5 sacks, had nine sacks over first nine years) will probably get him a nice two or three-year deal from some team and he’s expressed a strong desire to stay in Buffalo. He will also take into consideration what they do with Tyrod Taylor. He will not be coming to Seattle.
Reggie Bush, RB
I kind of want to go as far as to say that a reunion between Bush and Pete Carroll is likely. In fact I wrote about it recently. Bush wants to play and the Seahawks need running back depth, presumably from a veteran since they’ve cycled through a lot of undrafted free agents and draft picks recently and Carroll always likes to bring in new veteran running backs. He wouldn’t cost anything significant, so don’t bite my head off for suggesting it.
Zach Brown, LB
Alexander wasn’t the only surprise breakout player for the Bills defense, with Brown making his first Pro Bowl after signing a one-year, $1.25m deal last year. He’ll get paid but not by the Seahawks. He could get a contract similar to Brandon Marshall: 4-year, $32 million.
Stephon Gilmore, CB
Gilmore, the 10th overall pick in 2012, also made his first Pro Bowl in 2016. (Don’t tell me Rex Ryan did nothing for the Buffalo defense.) Even if Seattle had the money to sign him (they don’t) he only has 31” arms. He could end up on the franchise tag, which should pay him over $14 million next season if he doesn’t come to a long-term agreement with the team. He made get something like the five-year, $62.5 million deal that Janoris Jenkins received last year.
Mike Gillislee, RB
He quietly led the NFL in yards per carry last season at 5.7, which is also what he averaged on limited carries in 2015. I quickly compared his 2013 combine results to Christine Michael’s and what you’ll find at first is that they are similar size (Gillislee is taller, leaner) and both ran about a 4.55, but Michael did 12 more reps on the bench, jumped more than a foot higher in the vert, had six more inches on the broad jump, and was much faster in the three cone and the 20-yd shuttle. Michael is a fascinating and exceptional athlete, so they weren’t good comps (sorry) but Gillislee has definitely been more valuable. Michael averaged 3.9 yards per carry last year with the Seahawks and Green Bay Packers.
I guess what I’m saying is that Gillislee won’t sign in Seattle anyway and this was a waste of time.
E.J. Manuel, QB
A former first round pick at QB is hitting the free agent market and it’s not even notable. Manuel isn’t brought up when people write about the available QBs in trade and free agency this year. He could potentially end up in the NFC West, but not with the Seahawks.
Jordan Mills, RT
Mills seems the perfect candidate for Seattle to look into during the free agency period. Not only because he’s a 6’5, 315lb lineman with 34” arms and 16 starts at right tackle last season, but because he struggled. Mills allowed eight sacks and 57 pressures, about one pressure per 10 snaps, according to PFF. He could cost more than J’Marcus Webb cost last year because MIlls is younger, but he seems like an avoidable mistake if the Seahawks learned their lesson. I just feel like I’ll be linking back to this paragraph in March.
Others: DE Leger Douzable, FB Jerome Felton, WR Brandon Tate, LB Ramon Humber, S Sergio Brown, LB Brandon Spikes, S Corey White, CB Robert Blanton, DE Corbin Bryant, S Jonathan Meeks, TE Chris Gragg, WR Justin Hunter, WR Robert Woods, WR Marquise Goodwin, OLB Lerentee McCray, S James Ihedigbo
Cap Casualty Candidates
Tyrod Taylor, QB
I’ve been saying for awhile that cutting Taylor would be a huge mistake, but some comments and notes recently have made me second guess that. Taylor may be perfectly suited for the team the Bills had been under Ryan but they aren’t that team anymore and they could be paying him relatively huge money if they don’t release him by March 11; that’s when $27.5 million will be guaranteed. The best move might be to move on and whether or not Kyle Shanahan would be interested in him for San Francisco has yet to be seen.
Kyle Williams, DT
Williams is a legend in Buffalo but they could be coming to the point where parting ways is necessary. The 33-year-old is due for a cap hit of $8.3m and with yet another change in coaching, perhaps the team and the player could go their own ways. Williams would be a huge get for the Seahawks and if he’s looking to get into the playoffs at least one time before he retires, this could be a fit.
Corey Graham, S
Despite the fact that safety Aaron Williams could retire due to numerous neck injuries, there is talk that the Bills will try to save some money by releasing Graham. He’s 31, not much of a fit for Seattle.
Dan Carpenter, K (since released)
The most likely cap casualty is Carpenter, who just had the worst season of his career. If the Seahawks don’t re-sign Steve Hauschka, then other kickers will have to be explored. Maybe that includes Carpenter, but he did miss five extra points and five other kicks between 40-49 yards.
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