In case you missed it late last week, the Buffalo Bills have used their franchise tag on Jairus Byrd and have not offered a contract to guard Andy Levitre yet, fueling speculation that the latter could be on his way to a new team this month as a high-quality free agent target.
If the Bills do end up needing to replace Levitre, how might they go about doing it? Buffalo hasn't been afraid to cast rookie starters on the offensive line under GM Buddy Nix - Chris Hairston got a lot of playing time as a rookie in 2011, and Cordy Glenn quickly took over the left tackle job in 2012 - but before they get to that point, there are veteran options to consider in free agency.
One name to keep in mind: New York Jets guard Brandon Moore. The only reason that more experts are not ranking Moore ahead of Levitre as a free agent guard at this point is because Moore will turn 33 this June; Moore is, however, regarded by many as one of the best guards in the league - and he has history with Buffalo's new head coach, to boot.
As an undrafted free agent defensive tackle in 2002, the 6'2", 305-pound Moore was switched to guard by then-head coach Herman Edwards. Moore therefore spent the first four years of his career being coached by Doug Marrone, then the Jets' offensive line coach, and by the time Marrone left for the New Orleans Saints in 2006, Moore had emerged as a full-time starter. Moore has started all 16 games in eight consecutive seasons for the Jets.
Taking out monetary considerations - which could be substantial enough to render a conversation about a 33-year-old guard moot (he made roughly $4.5 million in each of the past two seasons) - that's enough back story to reasonably link Moore to the Bills. Then again, if the Bills aren't willing to give fair market value to a 27-year-old starter, it stands to reason that the same will hold true for a 33-year-old starter, regardless of the aforementioned coaching connection, and regardless of the fact that the move could easily be viewed as an upgrade.
What say you, Bills fans? Would you be surprised or upset if the Bills let Levitre walk to pursue Moore?