Based on the boredom of the NFL lockout, and the lack of Free Agency, I've started wondering what free agents are legitimate prospects for the Bills, in terms of cost, positional need, and taking advantage of FAs on the market despite lack of need.
A portion of the consideration for certain prospects comes from the possibility of having to spend more money, based on the prospective CBA's cap stipulations.
Feel free to rip into the inclusion certain prospects or the explanation behind them, but if you can, at the very least offer your own opinions on what prospects you think the Bills should target and why.Offensive Tackle:
Marshal Yanda (26 years old) - RT/G for the Baltimore Ravens, according to rotoworld he is a FA and a priority for the Ravens. He might be worth a bidding war with the Ravens. He's versatile, and RT appears to be the last major cog holding our O-Line back.
Ryan Harris (26) - RT for the Denver Broncos. He's also a RT, but it doesn't sound like the Broncos plan on offering much money for him. Talented with potential, but is being held back by injuries. He's played 46/64 possible games in his four years in the league. Listed at 300 lbs. He might be worth the injury risk as he's both young and talented. Yanda and Harris are my preferred FA tackles that the Bills go after.
Jammal Brown (30) - prefers LT, has played RT for the Saints and most recently the Redskins. He might be worth paying top RT money, or even mid LT money to play on the right side (money might be able to persuade him to play RT). My reasoning for possibly paying him LT money to play RT is that he'd help complete our line, and would be a great backup at LT for Bell (even if he might be better at LT than Bell). According to rotoworld he is a FA. This situation wouldn't be my first choice due to sinking a lot of money on the O-Line, but it is one worth considering in my opinion.
Willie Colon (28) - coming off of a torn achilles last year. Don't know much about him in terms of ability prior to the injury, but according to rotoworld he's a UFA and should be assuming projected CBA rules. Worth looking at for RT.
Zach Miller (25) - Not much to say here. He's a good pass catching TE, not sure how he is as a blocker. He does have good size (listed as 6'5 255 on rotoworld). Yes, he'd be expensive, but if he is an all-around TE he would help complete this offense, and Gailey would be able to use him without giving away play-calling. TE isn't as big of a concern for me in FA considering the way Chan Gailey plans around them in our offense, but with how talented Miller is, I still feel he's worth consideration.
Bruce Gradkowski (28) - We need a back-up QB. He's a UFA according to rotoworld. Done.
Marcel Dareus, Alex Carrington, Dwan Edwards, Spencer Johnson, Kyle Williams (probably could play this), Torrel Troup (maybe). That's the list of all our players that could play DE for us next year. Suffice to say, we don't need to go out of our way to pick up another. However, due to availability, there might be one or two guys that would be worth consideration in the short term (1-3) years.
Shaun Ellis (34 on 24-Jun) - Free agent according to rotoworld. He's been good for the Jets the past 10 years. True, he'd probably rather go back to the Jets, but it's possible they'd only offer him a one-year contract. He might not have much left in the tank, but he might be worth throwing a 2-3 year contract at (not necessarily a huge one by any means), and he might have enough to be a solid starter for us next year, or at least end up being a solid backup who has won before, and could mentor our younger DEs. Worst case scenario, he might become a teacher player for us. This isn't to say that I don't have faith in Edwards, I think he's solid. It's just something to look at considering he's a FA and wouldn't cost us draft picks, even though we have a glut of players that could man the DE position for us.
Cullen Jenkins (30) - Free Agent according to rotoworld. Similar to Shaun Ellis in terms of being around winners, he's only 30 and could fill a starting role at DE for us (maybe at a higher level than Dwan Edwards). Unlike Ellis, he could probably last on the roster longer, and if Carrington passes him up, he could be a good player to rotate with Dareus/Carrington to keep the line fresh. Might be a bit expensive for us, unless we feel he'd be an upgrade at starter over Edwards/Carrington. Just a consideration with his name on the FA market, though, once again, DE isn't a big need for us.
My final question, and this is more a hypothetical, is this: would you give up two first round picks for LaMarr Woodley? We need another rush LB. We'd have to pay him top dollar (which it appears he would be worth), and throw some high picks at Pittsburgh. If we could get him for two firsts and a big contract, I think he could really help our team. This would assume Merriman doesn't return to form (I'm optimistic that he can come back in a good way). If Merriman did return to form, this trade would obviously (IMO at least) be a giant waste (unless Merriman returned to form and left the Bills). This isn't something I'm advocating, and I don't harbor the smallest hope it happens. But it's something that went through my head, and I was just curious to know what other Bills fans thought about this idea (along with the FA musings).
Hope this killed some NFL boredom for you all while we wait for our jerseys to be unveiled, along with the start of Free Agency. And please give any suggestions for other Free Agents that might be a good fit for the Bills.