Two years ago, rookie Buffalo Bills GM Marv Levy made his first big free agent splash by signing Colts DT Larry Tripplett to a five-year contract. Now, with Levy out of the building and the Bills looking to upgrade their interior defensive line, Tripplett has been released.
Signed due to his experience in Buffalo's Cover-2 defense, Tripplett never developed into the playmaker that the Bills hoped he could be when he was signed in March of 2006. In two seasons as a Bill, Tripplett notched just 68 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and was at the crux of one of the worst run defenses in the entire NFL over the past two seasons. Despite those downfalls, Tripplett was a steady veteran presence and a leader, and his departure leaves two third-year players - John McCargo and Kyle Williams - as the only two Bills tackles that have received significant playing time.
Precursor to Stroud Deal?
Earlier today, reports surfaced that Jaguars DT Marcus Stroud - given permission to seek a trade - would be visiting Orchard Park today. With two defensive tackles being traded today (the Jets acquired Kris Jenkins, while the Bengals acquired Shaun Rogers), both for third and fifth round picks, it is reasonable to assume that the Bills are poised to make a trade of their own. Clearly, this is just speculation, but if you're releasing your most experienced interior defender, you'd better have something up your sleeve.
Stroud and the Jets' Dewayne Robertson are the last two "big name" defensive tackles available on the trade market. And with head coach Dick Jauron indicating that the team isn't done wheeling and dealing today, the simple math seems to add up.
More on LB Kawika Mitchell Signing
Coach Jauron spoke to the media regarding the newest Buffalo Bill, LB Kawika Mitchell, and had this to say about his plans for next year's starting linebackers:
You certainly have. Weighing in at 253 pounds, Mitchell will bring a very physical, aggressive presence to the spot manned last season by the finesse, passive Keith Ellison (who is expected to remain a top backup). This move is a clear attempt to bring more toughness to the front seven, and since Mitchell has enough experience dropping back into coverage, it's not a complete drop-off from the pass defense standpoint either. Ellison is also still expected to see time on nickel downs, according to Rotoworld.
Keep your computers locked in to Buffalo Rumblings, as we plan to continue our coverage of Buffalo's early off-season moves as thoroughly and promptly as we can.