Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
Just one of the Buffalo Bills' nine free agents is a hot commodity - that's Andy Levitre, of course - but a few more could draw some interest on the open market.
2013 NFL free agency begins at 4PM tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon, and nine Buffalo Bills players are therefore on the last full day of their current contracts before hitting the open market. Here's a quick run-down of those names and everything we know about what might happen with them as free agents.
OG Andy Levitre
Buffalo's starting left guard for the last four seasons (he's made 64 consecutive starts) is one of the hottest names on the open market at the moment, with at least five teams - the Bills plus the Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears, San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos - reportedly expressing interest in him over the weekend. One way or another, Levitre is going to get paid a large sum of money within the next few days.
FB Corey McIntyre, DE Kyle Moore
These are the two players we know - via two Tim Graham (The Buffalo News) reports - that the Bills are interested in retaining. After two pass-rushers retired this off-season, the Bills really only employ three edge rushers at the moment, so retaining Moore would be helpful from that angle. McIntyre is one of the team's best special teams players, and the word on the street is that Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett will be re-implementing the fullback into the offense after Chan Gailey forgot about it for three years (McIntyre played 100 snaps on offense in 2012, compared to 296 on special teams).
There are a lot of talented guards on the market this year, and as a result said market is particularly hot in the build-up to free agency. Rinehart may draw interest from the Bills (as well as other guard-needy teams considering his experience), but he'll have to ride out the initial wave at the position first. If the Bills lose Levitre and can't land a free agent replacement, Rinehart would become an obvious in-house replacement option at left guard, even if only in the short term.
RB Tashard Choice, WR Ruvell Martin, DT Spencer Johnson, LB Kirk Morrison
These four Bills free agents are not expected back with the team, but a case can at least be made for each of them. Choice is an established third-back type. Martin is a very good special teams player. Johnson is an experienced depth option on the defensive line. Morrison plays a position at which the Bills are both young and not good. But then, there's a reason that none of these players are expected back, too - and it seems unlikely that any would get significant play on the open market, aside from perhaps Choice, who is still only 28 years old.
Yeah, he's not returning to Buffalo. Chan Gailey is gone and the team is looking for its in-development quarterback of the future; there's no longer a place for Thigpen here.
How many of these nine names, if any, are you expecting back with the Bills next season?